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^v^y^ov.-v. j^oAd, 





Not Fortune', wonhippw nor Fashion', fool, 
Not Lucre's madman nor Ambition a tool, 
Not proud nor servile, be one poet's Piw, 
That if he P lea 8 ed. he pleased by ^^ J 
That flattery, ev'n to kings, he held a shame, 
And thought a lie in trerse or pro.e the same, 
That not in Fancy's maze he wandered Ion*. 
Bpt .toopcd to Truth, and -orahsed^song. ^ 



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Works by the same jJu or 














; -4 

iSymonds, Emily Morse, d. 

Mr. Pope, his life and times, by George Paaton . 
With twenty-six illustrations, including two photogravure 
frontispieces ... London, HuUihinson &co. $ 1909. 

2 v. il.; 20 port. ( Incl. fronts. > 2*-J| cm. 

Paged continuously. 

1. l'oi*V Aloxnuder, 1688=1744. L TU10. 

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T^HERE is a certain type of reader (more common 
^ than the cultured may suppose) who, when 
the name of Pope is mentioned exclaims, " Pope ! 
That's the man who said * Whatever is, is right. 1 fl 
A little more searching of the memory, and he 
recalls that Pope was also responsible for suet 
platitudes as u The proper study of mankind ii 
man/' and " An honest man's the noblest work 
of God." He shows a tendency to confuse Pope 
with Solomon, and he has been known to attribute 
a line from the <c Essay on Man " to Shakespeare 
It is to this type of reader that the present plair 
chronicle, of the life and work of the poet is more 
especially dedicated. Short summaries are given o: 
all the important poems, in the hope that sucl 
a taste will inspire a desire for more. No attempi 
has been made at independent criticism, but passage 
are quoted from the judgments cif eighteenth- anc 
nineteenth-century critics. 

It seems desirable to apologise in advance foi 
the sins of omission and commission which mus 
inevitably find their way into a study of such at 
expert mystery-monger as Pope. Also, for al 
offences against established beliefs, opinions, anc 
prejudices, which, not less inevitably, must be com 

vi Preface 

mitted in dealing with a man who was so fruitful 
a source of quarrels in his life-time and of con- 
troversy after his death. If it be thought that 
'the follies and failings of the poet are too frankly 
treated, let the dictum of Samuel Johnson be 
remembered : "We must confess the faults of our 
favourite in order to gain credit to our praise of 
; his excellence. He that claims, either for himself 

; or another, the honour of perfection, will surely 

! injure the reputation of the fri'end he desires to 

! assist." 

i For the benefit of those readers who may desire 
! to improve their acquaintance with the poet, the 
! following list is given of the authorities who have 
been consulted in the preparation of this work. 
1 First and foremost, of course, comes the defini- 
tive edition of "Pope's Works," published by 
Mr. Murray (1871-89), and edited by the Rev. 
.. Whitwell Elwin and Professor Courthope. This 
. monumental work, with its scholarly memoir (by 
Professor Courthope), its admirable introductions 
;.- and illuminative notes, is "a veritable treasure- 
house of learning indispensable to the student of 
; eighteenth-century literature in general, and of the 
I poetry of Pope in particular. 

, i Though the editions of Roscoe, Bowles, Warton, 
; and Warburton, have been superseded by this modern 
i undertaking, still it is interesting to compare the 
conclusions of Pope's earlier with those of his 
'later editors. The best handbook to the study 
of Pope is the memoir written by Sir Leslie Stephen 
for the " Men of Letters "' series, but the longer - 
and more detailed " Life " by Robert Carruthers 

Preface i i 

may also be read with interest The researches at I 
discoveries of Mr. Dilke are published among h 5 
"Papers of a Critic, 11 while an examination of Pope * 
edition of Shakespeare will be found in Mr , 
Lounsbury's valuable book, "The Two Fir : 
Editors of Shakespeare;' 1 Among the Essayists ar I 
critics who have paid special attention to Pope a: : 
.Isaac Disraeli, Hazlitt, De Quincey, Thackera , 
Mark Pattison, and John Conington. Spence i 
"Anecdotes," Dr. Johnson's short "Life," an 
Warburton's discursive " Essay on the Genius an 
Writings of Pope," cannot be neglected, thoug 
Ruff-head's "Life" may be taken as read. Ir 
teresting allusions to the poet will be found i 
the "Letters" of Dean Swift, Lord Bolingbrok 
Lady. Mary Wortley Montagu, Mrs. Delany, Lad 
Hervey, Lady Suffolk, Samuel Richardson, Aaro 
Hill, the poet Gray, Horace Walpole, and Lor 
Byron, as also in the works of Lord Chesterfiel 
and the table-talk of Dr, Johnson. For th 
curious in such matters, there is a whole librar 
of lampoons on Pope in the British Museurr 
including attacks by Dennis, Welsted, Moore 
Smythe, Ducket, and other members of the societ 
of Grub Street. In the manuscript-room at th 
Museum are a couple of volumes containing un 
published letters addressed by Pope to Ralph Allei 
and Hugh Bethel, from which passages have beej 

My warmest thanks are due to Captain Cottrel 
Dormer, of Rousham (the beautiful Oxfordshire 
house where Pope so often stayed), for his kindnes 
in allowing me to read, and make extracts from 

yiii Preface 

the interesting manuscript correspondence of Mrs. 
.Csesar, of Benningtocu 

I have also to thank Professor Cpurthope for 
the helpful letters that he was good enough to 
write in response to an appeal for *' more light " 
on certain incidents in the poet's career. 

May 23, 1909. 








_ * , a 


THE "PASTORALS" . . , m ^ ^ 2 





LADY" r . . . . 

x Contents ' 







OF DR. NORRIS " . . . 8'^ 




f 'THB RA^E OF THE LOCK" . ' . . . . IOI 



ANNE . . . . . . . . . H7 















j?^sr cwRtt AND THE C URT p 


' ' ' ' - 


. 1716-17 





xii Contents' 




THE BLOUNTS . . .... . 2IO 







GARDENING . . . . . . . #30 






THE SOUtH SEA BUBBLE . . . > . . 249 



OXFORD " . . . . . . . . . 257 







COWPER. . juwm 

... 2; 





1725 ' 


. 3O 








xiv Contents 





1728 I 



ATTACKS ..... . . ,341 


THE DUNCIAD fl . . , . . . ' .. 351 



-- ' " 




] 2 
by Sir 


2 i 

From an original paintlog. 


y s(t 

. Simon ^ ,8 


xvi List of Illustrations 

ALEXANDER POPE, 1722 , . , f . . * 284 

From & mezzotint engraving by O. White, 1732, after a painting by Sir 
Godfrey Kneller. 

DR. JONATHAN SWIFT * . . . .... 312 

From a mezzotint engraving by Vanhaecken alter the painting by 


ALEXANDER POPE AT THE AGE OF 38 ., . , . . 344 

From a mejooUnt by J. Simon after the painting by M. Dan), 1727. 

"THE DUNCIAD 1 ' , . * . . 352 

Facsimile of title-page of an early edition. 


Parentage and Childhood 

A LEXANDER POPE, poet and satirist, *o 
changed the tune of English verse, and at- 
tempted to change the tone of English morals ? as 
born, not inappropriately, in the year of Revolu on 
-on May 21, ,688. The subject of his b th 
and pedigree has been obscured by various Wei is 
some invented by his enemies and others inspi ed 
by himself. It seems, however, fairly well establis ed 
that there were three Alexander Popes, the i - st 
being a clergyman of whom nothing is known exc ot 
that he held the living of Thruxton, in Hampsh e. 
His son, Alexander the Second, the father of le 
poet was born in 1645 and placed, while quit a 
youth, with a business firm at Lisbon, where, i, is 
supposed, he became a convert to Romanism. Af >r 
h.s return to England he started in business a< a 
Imen merchant 1 in Broad Street, and married a w * 
of whom history merely relates that her name v * 

1 He "dealt in Hollands wholesale" (Spence) 
VOL. I '' 


2 Mr. Pope 

Magdalen, and that she died in 1679, leaving one 


Having prospered in a modest way, Mr* Pope 
moved to Lombard Street and married Edith 
Turner, the daughter of a small Yorkshire land- 
owner. Here his famous son, Alexander the Third, 
was born. The marriage must have been a social 
rise for the linen merchant, and perhaps the cause 
for Miss Turner's condescension may be found 
in the fact that she was over forty at the time 
of the wedding, and belonged to a family of 
seventeen children. Three of her brothers served 
in the army, and a sister, Christina, married the . 
successful miniature painter, Samuel Cooper. 1 Mrs. 
Cooper was godmother to the poet and left him 
a " painted china dish with a silver pot and a dish 
to set it in," as well as the reversion of her books, 
pictures, and medals. 

Pope himself gives a more exalted account of his 
pedigree. His father, he asserted, belonged to a 
gentleman's family in Oxfordshire, the head of 
which was the Earl of Downe a statement for 
which he seems to have been his own sole authority. 
His mother, he declared, had the education and 
breeding of a gentlewoman. Mrs. Pope's few letters 
leave her reader with a lively hope that the breeding 

1 Samuel Cooper (1609-1672). He was well named " The Little 
Van Dyck." He painted Charles II. and many members of his 
Court, but his chef ifoeuvre was his portrait of Cromwell. In 
this connection Gillray's famous caricature may be remembered, 
"A Connoisseur examining a Cooper." This shows George III. 
looking at a miniature of Cromwell, and is a humorous reminder 
of the fate that another obstinate 'monarch suffered at the hands 
of the Protector, 


Parentage and Childhood 3 

of the contemporary gentlewoman was superioi to 
her education.- 

The truth is that the poet's parents were a pi in, 

honest, middle-class couple, gifted with plenty of 

common-sense, and still more uncommon t ct. 

Alexander the elder had the wit to make a sr all 

fortune and to retire from business before he as 

too old to adapt himself to a leisured country ! fe. 

In or about the year 1700 he bought a small hou s 1 

and twenty acres of land at Binfield, a village m 

the borders of Windsor Forest. 3 Here he sett id 

down very comfortably on his modest income of 

about four hundred a year, and from the first appc rs 

to have been received on equal terms by the cou ty 

families who lived in and around the For it. 

Though he had taken to country pursuits cc i- 

paratively late in life, he achieved some success as 

a gardener, and was especially distinguished for ie 

excellence of his artichokes. 3 Mrs. Pope, w 3, 

according to one not unbiassed opinion, " alw; rs 

1 Pope describes it as 

. A little house, with trees a-row, 
And, like its master, very low. 

* About two miles from Wokingham and nine from Windsor 
His unobtrusive virtues are immortalised in his son's verses 
Stranger 10 civil and religious rage, 
The good man walked innoxious through his age. 
No courts he saw, no suits would ever try, 
Nor dared aa oath, nor hazarded a lie. 
Unlearned, he knew no schoolman's subtle art, 
No language but the language of the heart. 
By nature honest, by experience wise, 
Healthy by temperance and by exercise. 

The good man was also something of a critic, for he would g e 
rhyme,'" ^^ ' *" " re - turned >" sa y in S- " T ^se are I d 

4 Mr* Pope 

appeared to have much better sense than her son, 1 * * 
contrived throughout her long life to keep on good : 
terms with her family, her neighbours, and >er 
son's friends, these last including wits, Bohemians, 
free-thinkers, men about town, noble lords, and 
fashionable ladies. This was no small feat in days 
when self-control was not regarded as the first 
essential of good-breeding, and when tempers were . 
constantly irritated and inflamed by over-indulgence 
in meat and drink. 

Pope's physical heritage was inferior to his moral 
heritage. His parents were both middle-aged at 
the time of his birth. His father was afflicted with 
a slight spinal curvature, while his mother suffered 
from nervous head-aches, though both must have 
had strong constitutions, since they lived to advanced 
old age. It is difficult to imagine the poet as a 
child, but, according to his half-sister, Magdalen 
Rackett, he was a pretty, healthy little, boy, with a 
round rosy face and a docile temper. His voice 
was so sweet that he earned the name of the " Little 
Nightingale. While still in petticoats he was 
attacked by a " wild cow, 11 which struck at him 
with her horns, wounded him in the throat, and 
trampled on him. Though the accident does not 
seem to have been seriously regarded at the time, 
it is possible that it left some injury which helped 
to undermine his constitution. 

As far as formal education went, the boy was not 
forced or over-driven. His aunt, Mrs. Cooper, 
is supposed to have taught him his letters, and he 

* This was said- by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu after her 
quarrel with Pope. 

Parentage and Childhood 

learnt to write by imitating print. As a Catholi 

the public schools and colleges were, .of cours 

closed to him, and, after receiving a little instructio 

from a priest, he was sent to a Catholic school : 

Twyford, near Winchester, where, he declares, h 

unlearnt the little that he knew. From Twyfor 

; he was removed because he had received a sever 

flogging for writing a satire on his master. H 

was sent for a short; time to another school nea 

Hyde Park Corner., kept by Thomas Deane, 

pervert, who had stood in the pillory for hi 

principles. Deane was probably patronised by th< 

Catholic gentry in recognition of his martyrdom 

since he was an incapable teacher. Pope used t< 

say that he learnt nothing from him except to con- 

strue some of Tully's "Offices," but he appreciatec 

the leisure he enjoyed for his own pursuits and 

studies. Among his favourite books were Ogilby'- 

version of the Iliad," Sandys' Ovid and a translation 

or Statms. 

"When I was about twelve," he relates, I wrote 
a kind of play which I got to be acted by my school- 
fellows. It was a number of speeches from the 
Iliad tacked together with verses of my own." 
Thus it will be recognised that, what with his satires 
and h,s Homer, Pope the child was the legitimate 
father of Pope the man. The boy only remained 
tor a short time at Deane's school and was then 
placed for a few months with a priest in the Forest 
I his was all the regular education he received, being 
permitted, soon after he entered his teens, to pursue 
his own studies at home. 

"When I had done with my priest," 'he used 

6 Mr. Pope* 

to say, "I took to reading for myself, for which 
I had a very great eagerness and enthusiasm, especi- 
ally for poetry ; and in a few years I had dipped . 
into a- great number of the English, French, Italian, 
Latin, and Greek poets. This I did without any 
design but that of pleasing myself, and got the 
languages by hunting after the stories in the several 
poets I ' read, rather than read the books to get 
the language. I followed everywhere as my fancy 
led me, and was like a boy gathering flow'ers in 
the field, just as they fell in my way." 

At the age of thirteen Pope began an epic poem 
on the subject of Alcander, Prince of Rhodes, of 
which four thousand lines were written. In this 
work, which was two years in hand, he modestly -| 
endeavoured to collect all the beauties of the grpat- 
est poets, including Homer, Virgil, Statius, Ovid, 
Milton, Spenser, and Cowley ! The manuscript was 
burnt in after -years, on the advice of Bishop 
Atterbury, who, however, regretted that the first 
page had not been preserved. Two or three 
verses which have survived show considerable dex- 
terity in the handling of the heroic metre. The '' 
following couplet was transferred bodily to "The 
Dunciad " : 

As man's meanders to the vital spring, 

Roll all their tides, then back their circles bring. 1 

More successful probably, because less ambitious, 

1 Another couplet showed the influence of the then fashionable 
poetaster, Sir Richard Blackmore : 

Shields, helms, and swords all jangle as they hang, 
And sound rormidinous with angry clang. 

Parentage and Childhood 7 

was the " Ode to Solitude/' which was written at the 
age of twelve, beginning : 

Happy the man who, free from care, 
The business and the noise of town, 
Contented breathes his native air 

In his own grounds, 1 

and concluding in a melancholy vein, appropriate 
to the age of the writer : 

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown, 
Thus,- unlamented, let me die, 
Steal from the world, and not a stone 
Tell where I lie. . 

During his first great reading period, which lasted 
from his twelfth to his nineteenth year, Pope tells 
us that he made himself acquainted with all the 
best critics as well as all the best poets. Such 
continuous and impassioned study, though too 
desultory to make the poet a scholar in the strict 
sense of the word, made him at least a " full man." 
Reading that is undertaken for pleasure is naturally 
more easily assimilated than the compulsory studies 
of school and college, and Pope, who possessed only 
too perfect a memory, made the most of what the 
schoolmen would have regarded as very modest 
baggage. 3 

1 This juvenile poem was not allowed to see the light without 
retouching. In the last version the false rhymes are corrected, 
and the first verse runs : 

Happy the man whose wish and care 
A few paternal acres bound, 
Content to breathe his native air 

In his owa ground. 

1 Thomas Hearne, the antiquary, writing in 1729, said : "This 
Alexander Pope, though he be an English poet, yet he is but an 

8 Mr. Pope 

This absorption in literature created in the youth- 
ful student - a corresponding interest in the literary 
men of his own time. When he was about twelve 
years. old he contrived to catch a glimpse of Dryden, 
the master from whom, as he confesses, he had learnt 
the art of versification. Pope probably saw the old 
poet at Will's. Coffee-house in Russell Street, Coven t 
Garden, where Dryden had his own arm-chair, 
which in winter had a settled and prescriptive right 
to a place by the fire, and in summer was placed on 
the balcony. In any literary dispute the first appeal 
was* made to him, and the young beaux and wits 
thought it a great honour to have a pinch of snuff 
out of his box. Although Pope, child as he was, 
looked on the poet with veneration, and observed 
him well, he could tell but little about him in after- 
life except that " Dryden was not a. very genteel 
man ; he was intimate with none but poetical men. 
He was said to be a very good man by all who 
knew him. He was as plump as Mr. Pitt, of a 
fresh colour and a down look, and not very con- 

When he was about fifteen the young Alexander 
conceived a sudden desire to go to London for a 
time, in order to learn French and Italian. His 
family demurred to what seemed a wild sort of 
project, 1 since, in spite of his strong wish to travel 
abroad, it was improbable that he would ever be 
strong enough to make the grand tour. However, 
he stuck to his point, and, as he generally managed 

indifferent scholar, mean at Latin, and can hardly read Greek. 
He is a very ill-natured man, and covetous and excessively proud." 
But then Hearne had been ridiculed in " The Dunciad," 

Parentage and Childhood 

Parent8 ' he 
m nths in 

-- to 

the desired languages. By 

showed an intim-,^ Jan g ua g e - Pope certainly 

^" W rks of 

the modern Fr nch n o ^^T" ^ the W rks of 
centuries ^ beglnm ^ f the eighteenth 

M he 


10 Mr. Pope 

T* ^^ ^^ tO hi 
family priest, however, Thomas 

Southcote,' refused to believe that the case wa^ 
hopeless, and insisted on going to town to consult 
the famous Dr. Radcliffe. He returned with the 
valuable prescnpuon, Study less and ride out every 
day. This advice was followed, and in a short time 
the patrent was able to take up again the burden of 
that "long disease," his life. 


Early Friendships Wycherley and the Wits 

HPHE Catholic youth of Queen Anne's day was 
strictly limited in his choice of a profession. 
The army and navy were closed to him, as was 
the law, except in its lower branches. He could 
not hold office as a civil servant, and therefore 
the popular sport of place-hunting was not for 
him. ^He might practise as a medical man, though 
he could only look for a clientele among members 
of his own religion, and he might -become an 
author, an actor, a painter or a musician, but the 
pursuit of art or literature was not yet regarded as 
a "profession." At One time there was an idea 
that the young Pope should study medicine, but 
the boy's health was probably a bar to his entering 
any calling that required an arduous training. Paint- 
ing portrait-painting being understood seemed a 
more suitable occupation for a sickly lad. Mrs. 
Pope had inherited from her sister Samuel Cooper's 
grmdmg-stone and muller, and the family councils 
were probably influenced by the successful example 
of the miniaturist. From time to time the young 
student would temporarily forsake his books and 

12 Mr. Pope 

'devote himself with much industry, but little success 

to the study of painting. ' 

But It must have been clear to all, with eyes 

to see, that his true vocation was for " letters " l an 

[unprofitable calling, but, as the son of a man of 
-independent means, he could "commence author" 
without the fear of starving in a garret, -or being 
forced- to prostitute his pen for bread. During a 
long probationary period his parents behaved with a 
kindness and consideration that may best- be de-' 
scribed as modern." .They nursed their poet when 
he was sick, believed in him when he was un- 
productive, and appear to have been equally content 
whether he pursued his studies quietly at home 
or played the man of pleasure among his friends in 

At that time there was a little colony of old 
Catholic families living in or around the Forest 
including the Dancastles of Binfield, the Englefields 
of Whitekhights, the Fermors of Tusmore, the 
btonors of Stonor, and the Blounts of Mapledurham. 
That the retired London tradesman, his homely wife 
and clever boy were soon admitted to the intimate 
friendship of the old-established families .is somewhat 
remarkable, since the "county" usually resents the 
intrusion of trade into its midst and is not much 
attracted by talent. But in those persecuting days 
the members of the proscribed religion held closely 
together. It was not only the Catholic gentry, 

1 As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame, 
I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came. 
I left no calling for this idle t;ade, 
No duty broke, no father disobeyed. 

Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot. 

Early Friendships 13 

however, who patronised the boy Pope. One of his 

earliest friends, -was old Sir William Trumbull 

ex-Ambassador and Secretary of State, who had re- 

tired from public life in 1697 and was now living 

at Easthampstead Park. When Pope, by Dr Rad- 

Cliffe's advice, began to ride daily in the Forest, 

he was joined by Sir William, who sympathised 

with the boy's poetical projects, and was always 

ready to discuss "the classics." 1 

In his youth Pope associated chiefly with elderly 
.men,- and in after-life he complained that this had 
brought him some troublesome habits. One of his 
earhest literary friends was Wycherley, the drama- 
tist of whose patronage he was so proud that he 
used to follow him about like a little dog The 
acquaintance seems to have begun about 1704, when 
Pope was sixteen and Wycherley sixty-four The 
dramatist was then a widower, and living on a small 
pension granted him by James II. The plays that 
Jad made him famous had all been written before 
he was thirty-five, but he had just published, by, a folio volume of miscellaneous poems, 
the bottom dregs of his wit. 

AKK to 

Abberley Park, poetaster and critic, man 
of fashiorvund universal lover. Dryden had de- 

" TV f hC bCSt 1Ivi "S Critic > and declared ^at 
his "Dialogue concerning Women" 2 he had 




*4 Mr. Pope 

come into the world forty-thousand strong, before 
he had ever been heard, of. It was Walsh who 
advised the young student to make "correctness" 
his study and aim, since, though we had several 
.great poets, we had not one who was "correct" 
Nobody seems to have called upon the critic to 
define exactly, what he meant by correctness " But 
Pope was deeply impressed by the advice, which 
harmonised with his own inclinations, and, whether 
for good or evil, ''correctness" became the fetish 
tp^which he sacrificed throughout his poetical life 
One other early friend of the poet's may be men- 
tioned-Henry Cromwell, an elderly man' about 
town, with literary tastes and a turn for writing 
verse. Gay alludes to him as < honest, hatless 
Cromwell m red breeches," and the only information 
that Johnson could collect about him was that he 
used to go out hunting in a tye-wig. From Pope's 
correspondence we gather that he was a regular 
habitue of green-rooms and coffee-houses, and that 
he tried to combine the roles of lady-killer, critic and 
sportsman. He was nearly fifty when Pope 'was' 
introduced to him, and it is evident that the boy was 
impressed by his knowledge of the world, and tried 
not too successfully, to model his own conversation 
and conduct upon those of the elderly beau 

w P ,T'c earlieSt le " erS are addres *ed to Wycherley, 
Walsh, Sir William Trumbull, and the Rev. Ralph 
Bridge, a nephew of Sir William. The Wycherley 
correspondence was carefully prepared " for publi- 
cation by Pope, more suo, but the discovery of some 
was a Whig M.P, and Gentleman of the Horse to Queen Anne 
He was about forty-two when he made Pope's acquaintance. 

Wycherley and the Wits t ' 5 

of Wycherley's original letters at Longleat thi . 

SUSDlCiOM /*kM <-U > O *"* v UlI Yf 

Pope to > 

Forest, December 26 7o 
n erestmg from its mention of Dryden ? 
It wa s certainly a great satisfaction to me" , 

T whim 

must havc knoa b- ; , 

been assured not only by ,0^7^ 
r. Co ngrev , e and Sir w;1| . T / b 

original manuscHpts oorfn * 
^ dealt with in its proper p, a b^ 
that Wycherley's le tte shave rl 
and that one at least of " X 

out of letters to his Wend, 

professed 'y &om the 
TKe inddent wi 
b<S mentioned 
ret UChed 

' S made 

16 Mr. Pope 

determination to write as a wit." Wycherley had 
never attempted to write as anything else, but the 
flow of his good things had presumably been used 
up for his comedies. The correspondence -on both 
sides is chiefly remarkable for precious phrases 
twisted periods, and far-fetched flattery. As De 
Quincey says, the correspondents strained every 
nerve to outdo each other in carving all thoughts 
into a filigree work of rhetoric, and the amcebsan' 
contest was like that between two village cocks from 
neighbouring farms, endeavouring to overcrow each 

From Pope's version of his own letters, it would 
seem that he rebuked Wycherley, kindly but firmly 
for dealing too liberally in flattery, remarking I 
must blame you for treating me with so much 
compliment, which is at best but the smoke of friend- 
ship." He was careful, however, to suppress a letter 
m which Wycherley brings the same charge against 
himself, protesting that his "great little friend " had 
tried his patience by high-flown praises, for I have 
not seen so much poetry in prose a great while, since 
your letter is filled with so many fine words and 
acknowledgements of your obligations .to me (the 
only asseverations of yours I dare contradict), for 
I must tell you your letter is like an author's epistle 
before the book, written more to show his wit to the 
world than his sincerity or gratitude to his friend 
whom he libels with his praise, so that you have 
provoked my modesty even whilst you have soothed 
my vanity; for I know not whether I am more 
complimented or abused. ..." 

Wycherley professed a warm interest in Pope's 

Wycherley and the Wits : 

"intrigues" with the Muses. So old a man 
himself, he observes, can give no cause for jealou' 
to so young, so great, and so able a favourite of tl 
Nine. I am, in my inquiry," he adds, "like o 
bir Bernard Gascoigne, who used to say that whe 
he was grown too old to have his visits admitte 
alone by the ladies, he always took along with hi, 
a young man to ensure his ^^ ^ ^ _ 

had he come al one he had been rejected, on! 
because his visits were not scandalous to them " 

Pope who, since his childish efforts at origins 
poetry, had employed his pen chiefly in translatin, 
and imitating . classic models, completed his fir 
important work, the "Pastorals," in 1704, though a 

t'h m T? ^ t0 , haVC Had n th U S ht f P ri ^inj 
ir'in? Unng ; the autumn of r 7 o 5 he spent som! 
time m town, frequenting the theatres and coffee- 
hous es nd .mproving his acquaintance with the 
wits. His poems, which were handed round ir 
manuscript, were his best introduction, and brought 
him to the notice of the poetical Granville, afterwafd 

Lord. Lansdowne,' and the D ^ of .BuckingLm' 
Writing to nn unknown correspondent about hat 
time, Granville says : 

win WyCherIe ^ sha11 b ""g with him, if 

Will, a young poet , newly ihspircdi in ^ ^ 

-ipSK D G si^;; 7 ?,i: Tr d by Pope in < h < 

addressed " Windsor Fo es t to ** ^^ P P e als 


18 Mr. P6pe 

hood of "Cooper's Hill, whom he and Walsh have 
taken under their wing. His name is Pope. He is 
not above seventeen or eighteen years of age, and 
promises miracles. If he goes on as he has begun in 
the pastoral way, as Virgil first tried his strength 
one may hope to see English poetry vi e with the 
Koman, and this swan of Windsor sing as sweetly 
as the Mantuan." y 

Though he assiduously haunted Will's Coffee 
house, then the great literary centre, Pope had to" 
wait several years before he made the acquaintance 
of Addison and Steele, both of whom had already 
come to the front, Addison with his Campaign " 
( 1 704) and Steele with his Christian Hero " and his 
comedies. Of .Swift, who visited London in i 7O c 
and 1707, we hear nothing in Pope's early letters, 
while Gay had not yet emerged from behind his 
counter. Swift used to say that he never heard 
worse conversation than at Will's, and when Pope 
exchanged the famous coffee-house for Windsor 
Forest (October 1705). he declared that he found 
'no other difference than this betwixt the common 
town-wits and the down-right country fools that 
the first are pertly in the wrong, with a little more 
flourish and gaiety and the last neither in the right 
nor m the wrong, but confirmed in a stupid settled 
medium betwixt both. . . . Ours are a sort of 
modest, inoffensive people, who neither have sense 
nor pretend to any, but enjoy a jovia! sort of dulness 
They are commonly known in the world by the 
name of honest, civil gentlemen." 

The respect and politeness with which this pre- 
cocious youth was treated by at least one of his 


I I 

I I Wycherley and the Wits I5 

j | country neighbours, who was by no means wa ting 

j meuher sense or learning, are sufficiently illus ^ 

I l ^!^ * om a ^ " Wi ^ 

' -*^**A , JLW/LUCf 

I Trumbull, dated June 15, I?0 6 : 
.** " It is ' 

you, for A tl i. a cr nave tne use nf cnr^* ^^ 

vctL r ' ^^ ' ! Ue MUch ^ 7 on" 

* ***i* SsUne IL Will nr^f" V\A *^- ^ 

T J 'AvL L/C JXlV IH11 IT 

I do not improve by both. I wish ^ z ft '* 

earn some skill in gardening f r0m your ^ 

(to whom, with your good mother, alj o ur sen es 

arepre sented, with thanks for the artichoke", ho 

as sent us a pattern that I am afraid we shall c n 

to U his n '' nmiatUre> ^ S Ur artichok are in resj 

n volume of " JV s- 


; c^r?^ 8 ^ ParaphraSC th S ^ f 
turned to some practical account^ for" earl v in 1-7, =; 

tile anvtrv* i^f U: ^L., . i . . - - v,^ 1 i 

20 Mr. Pope 

the spices they bring home, to enhance the price of 
the remainder." * 

A request quickly followed to look over that 
Vdamned 'Miscellany' of mine, to pick out, if possi- 
We, some that may be altered, so that they may 
appear again in print." Ever ready to oblige, and 
superbly conscious of his own powers, Pope touched " 
. up the verses, composed new lines, deleted repeti- 
tions, and handed back the revised manuscripts with 
a compliment of which the intention is better than 
the metaphor : "You have commissioned me to 
paint your shop, and I have done my best to brush 
you up hke your neighbours, but I can no 'more 
pretend to the merit of the production than a 
midwife to ' the virtues and good qualities of the 
child she helps into the light." 


Life at Binfield 

JHE Pastorals,of which mention has alrc dv 

A been made, became famous lone before t II 

attained the honour of print. They were read id 

Garth, and by noblemen of disclrnmenUikTL ^d 

Hahfax and Lord Wharton. "Knowing Wak 

^ Pope dubbed him, declared that Virgil him 'if 

had wntten nothing so good at sixteen a d 

Trumbull complained that it was cruel to wkhh d 

such wonderful compositions from the worlT' I t 


only with poi 

'" Mr. Pope 

judges in poetry. I remember I have formerly seen 
: you at my shop, and am sorry 1 did not improve 
,my acquaintance with you. If y OU design your 
, poem for the press, no person shall be more careful 
| m printing of it, nor no one can give a greater 
'I encouragement to it." 

I This flattering offer from Dryden's own publisher 
:was .naturally accepted, though Pope declared that 
( he was heartily relieved when, from one cause 
or another, the publication of his firstling was 
postponed from year to year. But there was great 
jubilation among his patrons and admirers when 
Tonson's offer became known. "I am glad" 
, wrote Wycherley, "to find you design your country 
beauty of a Muse shall appear at Court and in 
:, public to outshine all the farded, lewd, confident, 
and affected town-dowdies, who are being honoured 
.only for their shame." 

j While awaiting his introduction to the public 
: Pope occupied himself in making translations from 
Ovid and Statius, paraphrasing one or two of the 
"Canterbury Tales," and working at his drawing. 
The greater part of the year was spent at Binfield, 
but he was occasionally in town for a- few weeks 
at a time, improving his acquaintance with the wits 
and rakes, and leading a life which had the worst 
effect upon what Wycherley called his " little crazy 
tender carcase." Though he lived at he me free 
of charge and his parents allowed him to invite 
his new friends to Binfield, he found it difficult, 
with a rapidly increasing acquaintance and new 
standards of living, to obtain sufficient funds for 
current expenses from the parental exchequer. Thus 


Life at BlnfleM. 3 

early in July 1707 he writes a letter in doege -1 
verse to Henry Cromwell, beginning : ' 

I had to see you some intent 
But for a curst impediment, 

Which spoils full moiy a good design, 
That is to say, the want of coin. 

He paid a visit to Walsh at Abberly P a , - 
towards the end of the month, and probably cou 
not afford a stay in town as well. The abo , . 
Jetter is not worth quoting further, save for th ' 
following Imes, which contain a biographical hi, 

To end with news, the best I know 
Is, I've been well a week or so. 
The season of green peas is fled, 
And artichokes reign in their stead. 
The Allies to bomb Toulon prepare 
God save the pretty ladies there! ' 
One of our dogs is dead and gone, 
And I, unhappy | left alone. 

tat as lt is likeness that begets affection so m v 

qu,l y and u b it be ,t 

chrf pomt of friendship , comply Bith * **. 

2 <- . Mr. Pope 

motions and inclinations, he possesses this in an 
emment degree ; he lies down when I sit, and 
walks when I walk, which is more than man^ very 
good friends can pretend to witness our walk a 
year ago in St. James's Park." 
Cromwell solemnly denied the possibility of a 
friendship " existing between a dog and his master 
on the ground that the one could never be the 
equal m mtelhgence of the other. But Pope replied 
that there was no such obstacle in the way of 
friendly relations between his country neighbours 
and their dogs. 

In his letters Pope took the greatest pains to 
adapt himself to his correspondents. Thus with 
Walsh he assumes the character of a man of letters 
and with Cromwell that of a man of the world 
who merely amuses himself with poetry while 
with Wycherley he was (till he grew tired of 
tinkering with the "damned 'Miscellany'") the 
grateful disciple and humble admirer. Throughout 
his correspondence Pope is nearly always at his worst 
when writing to, or about, women. His letters to 
Cromwell contain many allusions gallant or other- 
w-se-to the ladies of their acquaintance. . Thus on 
quitting London, after a long visit in the spring 
of 1708 he assures the old beau that he envies 
the town for nothing except that his friend remains 
there, but adds : 

"Yet I guess you will expect I should recant 
this expression, when I tell you that Sappho (by 
which heathenish name you have christened a very 
orthodox lady) did hot accompany me into the 
country. However, 1 will confess myself the less 

Life at Binffcld l; 

concerned on that account, because I have no v ry 

sclent mclmat.on to lose my heart, especially 7n 

so wild and savage a place as this forest is. J " 

town lt ten to one but a young fellow may f d 

h strayed heart again with some Wild Street r 

Druiy Lane damsel, but here I could have * 

with no redres, from an unmerdfd ^ ^ 

Well sir, you have your lady in the town , [ 
and I have my heart in the country still h( 
bemg wholly unemployed as yet, has the mo et 

m it for my fnends, and does not want a cor r 
at your service. ..." 

The '.Sappho" here mentioned was' a Ma 

? 7 V iterary tastes wh ** : 

t another Sappho also appears in tl ' 

at tis time. Mrs. Sappho- Nelson soc 
her poet-friend into thfcountry, f o 

v*tf' ;. Mr. Pope 

that he is perfectly contented in his country home, 
and has never once thought of the town, nor inquired 
for any one in it, except Wycherley and Cromwell. 
The latter, he doubts not, is back at his old apart- 
ment in the -Widow's Corner, 1 and has returned to 
'his old diversions of "a losing game at piquet with 
the ladies, and half a play, or a quarter of a play, at 
the theatre, where you are none of the malicious 
audience, but the chief of amorous spectators, and 
for the infirmity of one sense,. 1 which could only 
there serve to disgust you, enjoy the vigour of 
another which ravishes you. . . . So you have the 
advantage of being entertained with all the beauty 
of the boxes without being troubled with any of 
the dulness of the stage." 

With Walsh, meanwhile, Pope was solemnly .dis- 
cussing the technique of prosody. He was anxious 
to know his Mentor's opinion on the question of 
borrowing or stealing from the ancients, and also 
sought advice as to the amount of "wit " that should 
be admitted into a pastoral Walsh was leniency itself 
on the subject of borrowing, declaring that " the best 
poets in alllanguages are those that have the nearest 
copied the ancients." With regard to wit and fine 
writing generally, he was quite sound, observing 
that "in all writings whatsoever (not poetry only) 
nature is to be followed ; and we should be jealous 
of ourselves for being fond of similes, conceits, and 
what they call saying fine things. When we were 
in the North, my Lord Wharton showed me a letter 

1 The widow Hambleton, who kept a coffee-house in Prince's 
Street, Drury Lane. 
* Cromwell was deaf. 

Life at Binficld 27 


general recalled and set to writing here at ho e 
.for it was impossible that a man whh so much fc 
as he showed could be fit to command an army, 
do any other business." * 


The "Pastorals'* 

E much-discussed "Pastorals," which the 
pubhsher had kept such an unconscionable 

their appearance i 


Mi n o " so 

Miscellany" on May 2 , I?O9 . The four 
, Summer, Autumn and Winter-were 

w y u t0 SIr Wa fc Trumbull, 
Wycherley, and the memory o f 

a W Was a rid 

Walsh s. Pope afterwards wrote a short intro- 

n Se> fr m Whlch 

, that he 

the old superstition that pastoral poetry 

T!T idyllic or golden age ' wh - th " 

tendmg of flocks was the chief employment of 
manhnd, and when the shepherds amused their 
leisure with songs in which they celebrated their 
own fehoty. The modern critic denies the existence 
of a golden age, and maintains that the pastoral 
has always made its appearance in the last and 
most decadent stages of each civilisation, its popu- 
lanty being due to the longing for rustic simplicity 
winch is the outcome of an artificial state of society 
It is the shepherd (and still more the shepherdess) 

. ^ 

The " Pastorals" 9 

who yearns for the delights of cities and com s 

T mCn f faShi n and town -bred poets en y 
the simple souls who, with ribboned crooks a d 
oaten pipes, are supposed to lead idyllic Jives unc :r 
the hawthorn in the dale." 

From his boyhood Pope had ridden through t e 
green alleys o f the great Forest, wandered by t e 
shining Thames, and rambled over the lovely heat s 
that surrounded his home, but it does not appe r 
that he had ever observed nature through his ov i 
eyes. For him nature was "something that h; 1 
been discovered, if not created, by the poets Tl 
country, as seen through classic glasses, was inhabit* ' 
by n ymp hs fauns, and satyrs, by sighing Strepho, I 
and cruel Chloes, rather than by uncouth plou/hme 
and b owsy dairy-maids. The cattle grazing i 
the field were for him transformed into sacrifici; 
buns, the harvestmen quenched their thirst wit 
clusters of grapes instead of flagons of beer, whil 
Jupiter, Ceres, Bacchus, and the rest of the Olvmpia 
crew exercised a personal influence on the crop ?, 
and the weather. Throughout his life Pope pre 
fcrred "nature to advantage dressed" to natur 
m the raw, and felt more at home in a garde, 

n a gare, 

than , Tf b f SkS> ^P 168 ' and mock "an 
than m fields or forests. 

That the " Pastorals " show the young poet in th, 
"r, ltatlve stage was on , 7 to be J f P ^ th 

who reads incessantly leaves himself no time fo 
thought or observation. Not only was there n 
ongmahty of idea in the PastoR jJ but> J^ 
was t e fir3t pobt oufj there ^ > o * Warton 

rural ,ma ge that was new ; the whole might have 

;;3" Mr. Pope 

been written in the Widow Hambleton's coffee- 
house. But the boy showed amazing dexterity in 
fitting the thou?hts and WQrds of h ./ reat 2^ 

-whether a nc,ent or modern-into a mosaic of 
h,s own pattern. It was the manner, f ar more 
thanthe ( matter, that commended the "Pastorals" 
to Popes contemporaries. The young man may 
; have learnt his versification from Dryden, but he 
had made the tune his own, and, like a modern 
Orpheus, he set the whole world dancing to it 
Macaulay declares that, from the time when the 
Pastorals appeared, heroic versification became a 
matter of rule and compass, and before long all 
artists were on a levd. < Hundreds of dunces who 
; never blundered on one happy thought or expression 
were able to write reams of couplets which, as far 
as euphony was concerned, could not be distinguished 
from those of Pope himself."' This, of course 
is. the exaggeration of prejudice. It may be easy 
enough to turn out heroic couplets of., the most 
^proved pattern, but it is quite another thing to 
produce poetry in the same measure that is at once 
bnlhant, forcible, and melodious. Pope chose to 
play on one string, but his music was unapproached 
t>y any of his contemporaries. 

A .host of imitators may have dulled modern ears 
to his melody, and even brought his instrument into 
disrepute, but two hundred years ago men stood 

probaWy had Cowper's lines about Pope in his 

But he (his musical finesse was such 
So nice his ear, so delicate his touch) 
Made poetry a new mechanic art, 
And every warbler has his tune by heart 

The "Pastorals" t 

still to listen when- a young poet lifted up his vo -e 
and sang : 

Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away ! 
To Delia's ear the tender notes convey 

As some sad turtle his lost love deplores 

And with deep murmurs fills the sounding shores ' ' 
Thu S> far from De , iai to the w . nds z ^ 

Alike unheard, unpitied, and forlorn. 

Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along ! 
The birds shall cease to tune their evening song, 

The wind s to breathe, the waving woods to move 
ihe streams to murmur, ere I cease to love. . ' 

Not bubbling fountains to the thirsty swain 
Not balmy sleep to lab'rers faint with pain ' 
Not showers to larks, or sunshine to the bee 
Are half so charming as thy sight to me. ' 

What could be more musical or more melancholy 
But to the modern taste the melody of the lines i 
less remarkable than the conventionality of th, 
senhment. Even contemporary critics could perceiv< 
the arttfaality of the "Pastorals." The gods anc 
goddesses that the poet transported to the banks ol 
the Thames had been somewhat overworked during 
the precedmg century, and the Berkshire local colour" 

Tines' /T' milk - Whlte bulls > and clus tering 
S me 

P g 

Pope ac d his ^ AmbrQse p S 

making roses, lilies, and daffodils bloom in the 

to Dr. 

Like gentle Fanny-, was my flowery thsme, 
A Panted mistress, or a purling S ir eam . 

Mr. Pope. 
b * he was himself guilty of the 

Here the bright crocus and blue vi'let glow 
. Here western winds on breathing roses blow.- 
That practical gardener, the elder Pope, might 
have criticised these lines with advantage. But ?he 
most irritating fault in these early poems is one 
which d,sfigures so much of the eighteenth-century 
hterature, namely, a disinclination to call things or 

. names ' - Fr example, in the 

birds are the feathered quire," sheep 
are the "fleecy breed," and, worse still, a gard en P 
becomes "the vegetable care" ' 

Tonson's "Miscellany" contained a paraphrase 

.of Chaucer s ''January and May" by Pope/pieces 

by Rowe and Garth, and a rival set of pastorals 

by Ambrose Philips. Wycherley, who had already 

paid what he called a - damned fine compliment " in 

verse upon the appearance of Pope's " Pastorals " 

wrote on May 17 to thank his young friend for 

a copy of the Miscellany "and to assure him that 

nothing had been better received by the public than 

his part in it.. In fact, he had displeased the critics 

by. pleasing, them too well, having left- them not a 

word to say for themselves. Your Miscellanies," 

he adds, "have safely run the gauntlet through all 

the coffee-houses which are now entertained with 

a whimsical new newspaper, called The Taller 1 

which I suppose you have seen, and is written by 

one Steele, who thinks himself sharp upon this 

Iron Age, since an Age of War, and who likewise 

by steele> with Addison>s 

The "Pastorals'* 13 

writes the other gazettes, and this under the na ie 
of ' BickerstafE' " 

Pope modestly replied that this modern cust. n 

of appearing in Miscellanies was very useful to i e 

poets, who, like other thieves, 1 escaped by getti R 

into a crowd, and, herded together like banditti, s; I 

only m their multitude. He could be satisfied o 

lose his time without losing his reputation. s 

for getting any, I am as indifferent in the matter s 

Faistaff was, and may say of fame as he did f 

honour: 'If it comes, it comes unlooked-for- ai I 

there's an end on't.' I can be content with a ba - 

saving gam, without being thought 'an emine t 

hand, with which little Jacob [Tonson] h 3 

graaously dignified his adventurers and voluntee 5 
m poetry." 

The friendship between the old dramatist and tl " 
youthful poet came to an untimely end It h- 
generally been believed that Wycherley was annoye 
because Pope criticised his verses too frank* 
Wycherley had desired that any repetitions of wo^ 
or sense should be marked in the margin of h 
manuscripts, without defacing the copy. Pope ' 
we may accept his letter as genuine, replied wit 
some asperity that Wycherley had better take bac 
his manuscript, since merely to mark the repeti 
tons would in no way rectify the method, connec 
the matter, or improve the poetry in expression o 
numbers. "As I have often told you," he con 
dudes, "it is my sincere opinion that the greate 


ofVi. 111 ?rCat ^ f Para P h * ases " * 

34 Mr* Pope 

part would make a much better figure as single 
maxims and reflections in prose, after the manner of 
your favourite Rochefoucault, than in verse." This 
advice could hardly have been very palatable, but 
that Wycherley meekly followed it is proved by the 
three hundred and eight maxims in prose which 
were found among his papers after his death. 

There is no trace of resentment in Wycherley's 
original letters, and Pope admitted to Cromwell 
that the coolness had been partly caused by the 
malicious untruths which some evilly disposed 
person had insinuated to Mr. Wycherley. 1 "If so," 
he adds, "he [Wycherley] will have a greater 
punishment than I could wish him in that fellow's 
acquaintance. The loss of a faithful creature is 
something, though of never so contemptible a one ; 
and if I were to change my dog for such a man as the 
aforesaid, I should think my dog under-valued, who 
follows me about as constantly here in the country, 
as I was used to do Mr. Wycherley in town." 

During the summer of 1710 the young poet 
suffered from a long illness, contracted in London, 
where the life may have been stimulating to 
his mind but was certainly injurious to his body. 
This was the eventful moment when the Whig 
dynasty fell with a crash, when the Marlboroughs 
were disgraced, and Harley and St. John rose to 
supreme power. Pope had not yet received 
Addison's advice, " not to be content with the praises 
of half the nation " ; but then, and for many years 
to come, he kept clear of politics, and made friends 
with " useful people " of both parties. Of course, 
1 Probably Gildon. 

The "Pastorals" 5 

as a Catholic, he could not expect to supplemx it 
his scanty earnings by a comfortable " place," like o 
many of his literary friends, but then he was spar d 
the misery of hope deferred and the indignity f 
dancing attendance in the ante-chambers of the gre !. 
When once the poet had set up as a man abo t 
town, he found the simple ways and strict piety if 
life at Binfield something of a bore. But he h i 
already acquired the habit of being all things to : 1 
men, though less with a view to their salvation th i 
his own convenience. Thus, in a letter to Cromwe 
dated April 10, he apologised for not havi] * 
written sooner, but explained that he had scrupl 1 
to send profane things in Holy Week. 

"Besides, our family would have been scandalisi 1 
to see me write, who take it for granted I wri : 
nothing but ungodly verses ; and they say here \ 
many prayers that I can make but few poems f! 
in this matter of praying I am an occasional coi - 
formist. So, just as I am drunk or scandalous i 
town, according to my company, I am ,for the san 
reason grave or godly here. I assure you I a; 
looked on in the neighbourhood for a very sob 
and well-disposed person ; no great hunter indee, 
but a great esteemer of the noble sport, and on] 
unhappy m my want of constitution for that an 
( drinking. They all say 'tis pity I a:n so sickly, an 

1 think tis pity they are so healthy ; but I sa 
nothing that may destroy their good opinion of nu 
1 have not quoted one Latin author since I cam 
down, but have learned without book a. son* 
Mr. Thomas Durfey's, who is your only poet o 
tolerable reputation in this county." 


1711 f 

The "Essay on Criticism" 

"Essay on Criticism " was completed, except 
for the usual retouching and polishing, as 
early as 1709,' but it was not published till i 7 u 
Pope tells us that he first digested all his material 
in prose, and then versified it with great rapidity. 
The Essay was regarded as a masterpiece by the 
eighteenth-century critics, Johnson going so far as 
to declare that the work exhibited every mode of 
' excellence that can embellish or dignify didactic 
composition selection of matter, novelty of arrange-' 
ment, justness of precept, splendour of illustration, 
and propriety of digression." A reaction took place 
m the critical opinion of the nineteenth century. 
De Quincey describes the Essay as " a mere 
versification, like a metrical multiplication-table, of 
commonplaces the most mouldy with which criticism 
has baited its rat-traps." The maxims, he contends, 
have no natural order or logical dependency, and 
are generally so vague as to mean nothing, while 
many of the rules are violated by no man so often 
as by Pope himself. 

* f -? C u aS D0t always kept * the same stor X ab ut the year 
m whjch the Essay was written, but 1709 is the date usually given. 


The "Essay on Criticism" 37 

Criticism so harsh as this fails to take into 
account the period at which the Essay appeared 
and the conditions under which it was composed. 
It was not put forward as a definitive treatise on 
criticism, but was literally an "attempt" to methodise v 
the chaotic contents of the young poet's mind, the " 
results of desultory study and undisciplined thought. 
We see him trying to " hammer out " his literary 
faith, to formulate a critical creed that would be 
helpful both to himself and others, and incidentally 
to give a practical definition of that blessed word 
" correctness." He is not always sure of his own 
meaning, he cannot always make it clear to the 
reader, but when it is remembered that there were 
at this time no native works dealing with the . 
principles and technicalities of criticism, it will be 
understood that Pope's "mouldy truisms " may \ 
have been regarded as brilliant epigrams or startling 
paradoxes by the public of his own day. 

Pope follows the lead of his master, Dryden, in 
attacking the false wit, the glittering conceits, and 
strained similes of the so-called metaphysical poets, 
among whom Donne, Cowley, and Crashaw were *' 
conspicu'ous. Dryden's famous Prefaces had pre- 
pared the way for .a poetical reformation. The 
absurdities and extravagances of the Euphuists and ' 
the metaphysical school were already discredited, and 
the public taste, wearied of intellectual gymnastics 
and jugglery, showed a reaction in favour of classical 
methods and classical ideals. 

The inevitable swing of the pendulum is repre- 
sented in the "Essay on Criticism." Here we have 
the very apotheosis of True Wit and Good Sense " 

Mr. Pope 

r towards the 



e < 
h.ghest attnbute of reason, while wit " 

n under 

a dozen different disguises.* Pope was not by 
nature or training well qualified for the production 

si'h n ^ f Ct " W rk> . His " s ^ng Po-er" was 
oiigiiL, aHu. tiiere is no sirm th^f k k^j i * 

^ . o t ^ ac fle nad ever studied 

the science- of logic, at least with any idea of 

been yi d S 'Vf ' 1 ** ^^S H e has 

been descnbed as the most inconsequential of all 

didactic poets m .he deduction of his thoughts/and 

he most severely distressed in any effort to explain 

he dependency of their parts. "All his thinking " 

to quote de Qmncey again, "proceeded by insulated 

and discontinuous fits, and the only resource for 

him or chance of even seeming correctness, lay in 

the hberty of stnnging his aphoristic thoughts/like 

'^Tronti aVing n relati n t0 eaCh ther but that 
accepted as an excellent substi^uTfor argum'^ 
m_the eighteenth century it became customary to 
drive a pcont home with a couplet from Pope 
The couplet might not stand a searching analysi^ 
but its bnlhancv was apt to dazzle and confound 
pure reason. 

The "Essay on Criticism" probably contains 
more 'quotations " in proportion to its length than 
any other work of Pope's, and it may not be ' 

The "Essay on Criticism" 39 

uninteresting to people who have been "talking 
Pope all their lives without knowing it to discover 
the source of certain now proverbial phrases, and 
to read them in their proper context. The Essay 
opens with a witty description of false and foolish 
critics, which may be summed up in the familiar 
couplet : 

Some have at first for wits, then poets passed, 
Turned critics next, and proved plain fools at last. 

But the true critic, who seeks to give and merit 
fame, is urged to follow nature . and frame his 
judgment by her just standard. 

Those rules of old discovered, not devised 
Are nature still, but nature methodised 
Nature, like liberty, is but restrained ' 
. By. the same laws which first herself ordained. 

But apparently, the only way to follow nature is 
to become intimately acquainted with the religion 
country, genius, and character of the ancients. ' 

Be Homer's works your study and delight, 
Read them by day, and meditate by night. 

Though the critic is to learn for ancient rules 
a just esteem, he must recognise that a "master- 
hand may deviate from the common track, since- 
Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend, 
And rise to faults true critics dare not mend ; 
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part] 
. And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art. ' 
Part I. concludes with an invocation to the 
' bards triumphant " who were born in happier days 
and the pious prayer - ' 

40 Mr. Pope 

raa y sor e spark of your celestial fire, 
The last, the meanest of your sons inspire 
(That on weak wings, from far, pursues your flights : 
Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes), 
. To teach vain wits a science little known, ' ' 

^ T admire superior sense, and doubt their own ! 

^ In Part II. the critic is shown the causes that 
.hinder, true judgment, such as Pride, Envy, Pre- 
judice, Party Spirit, and Imperfect Knowlege. It 
is in connection with the last mentioned that our old 
acquaintance comes in : 

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing ; 
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring : 
. There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, 

And drinking largely sobers us again. 

^ After giving some examples of dull or malignant 
critics, the poet explains that 

True wilis nature to advantage dressed ; 

What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed. 

Some critics, it is pointed out, care only for 
the style of a poet, and some for the music of his 
song. Others, again, swear only by foreign writers, 
and despise the native breed : 

Thus wit, like faith, by each man is applied 
To one small sect, and all are damned beside. 

The author is most severe, however, upon the 
servile critic who is a hanger-on of great men, 
and only lives 'to fetch and carry nonsense for 
my lord. 

i What woeful stuff this madrigal would be 

In some starved hackney sonneteer or me ! 

The "Essay on Criticism* 4 r 

But let a lord once own the happy lines, 

How the wit brightens ! how the style refines ! > 

was ' " "" ; mningr the 

wa m - 

was imself mchned to, and therefore, though his 

rhymes were his weakest point, it is nit sudsing 
to find him making merry at the expense of thf 

wuo inaujgea in feeble or commonplace 
. ine following lines might have been 

.i written about his own Pastorals ": 
t ' . j Where'er you find "the cooling western breeze," 
\ In the next hne ,t whispers through the trees" 

If crystal streams with pleasing murmurs creep," 
Ihe reader's threatened, not in vain, with ' sleep"." 

His own indifference to good rhymes is shown 
another ,^ which conyeys a precept ^^ ^ 

And again : 

Good nature and good sense must ever join 
^o err is human ; to forgive divine. 

The noble minds are to discharge their 
such unpardonable crimes as irreligiL and o 
In a bnlhant passage the poet holds up to con 

licentbus " 

When love was all an easy monarch's care 
Seldom at Council, never in a war . 
Jilts ruled the State, and statesmen farces writ 
Nay, w,ts had pensions, and young lords had wit 

blinded by 

* 2 Mr. Pope- 

The fair sat panting at a courtier's play, 

And not a mask went unimproved away ; 
The modest fan was lifted up no more, 

And virgins smiled at what they blushed before. 
i Part III. gives 'rules for the conduct 'of a 
critic modesty, candour, sincerity, and good-breed- 
ing together with a brief history of criticism and 
the characters of famous critics. Referring to the 
"bookful blockhead, ignorantly read," the poet 

No place so sacred from such fops is barred, 

Nor is Paul's church more safe than Paul's churchyard 

Nay, fly to altars ; there they'll talk you dead 

For fools rush in where angels fear to tread. ' 

The ideal critic, who alone can bestow valuable 
counsel, 1S pleased to teach, but not too proud to 
learn : r 

Unbiassed, or by favour or by spite ; 

Not dully prepossessed nor blindly right ; 

Though learn'd, well-bred; and though well-bred, sincere: 

Modestly bold, and humanly severe. 

Such .critics there had been in ancient days, from 
the fame when "the mighty Stagyrite' first left 
the shore. Horace had charmed men into sense, 
Dionysms had refined on Homer's thoughts, in 
grave .Qumtilian might be found the "justest rules 

?T. 1 ?V niddle f the seventeen A century the body of 
. Paul's Cathedral was the common resort of the politicians the 


1 This is imitated from some lines of Boileau, which allude to 
tht impertinence of a French poet, Du Perrie^who insisted on 
reciting an ode to him during the elevation of the host 

Aristotle, who was called the Stagyrite because he was born 
at btagyra. 

The " Essay on Criticism * 43 

and dearest method joined," while bold Longinus 
"with warmth -gives sentence, yet is always just." 

But then followed the dark ages that "saw 
learning fall and Rome, 11 when tyranny enslaved the 
body and superstition the mind, till 

At length Erasmus, that great injured name, 
(The glory of the priesthood and the shame !) 
Stemmed the wild torrent of a barb'rous age, 
And drove those holy Vandals off the stage. 

The poet passes on to the golden days of the 
Renaissance, when "a Raphael painted and a Vida 

Immortal Vida ! on whose, honoured brow 
The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow. 

Chased from Latium, 1 the Muses overstepped their 
ancient boundaries, and the arts were introduced into 
the northern world : 

But critic-learning flourished most in France ; 
The rules a nation, born to serve, obeys ; 
And Boileau still in right of Horace sways. 

The Britons despised these foreign laws, and, fierce 
for the liberties of wit, remained unconquered and 
uncivilised. A few there were, however, of sounder 
judgment who asserted the truth of the ancient 
cause " and here restored wit's fundamental laws." 
Among these are cited the Duke of Buckingham, 1 
Roscpmmon 3 and Walsh, "the Muse's judge and 
friend." Pope has been condemned for mentioning 

1 According to Warburton, Pope refers to the sack of Rome by 
the Duke of Bourbon, which, he suggests, had driven poetry out 
of Italy. ' 

* On account of his "Art of Poetry." 

5 On account of his " Essay on Translated Verse," 

44 Mr. Pope 

these minor writers and ignoring all the great poets 
of recent times save Dryden, but obviously he 
quoted the names of the few English authors who 
had concerned themselves with the principles of 
literary criticism. It is at the end of his panegyric 
on Walsh that Pope introduced the egoistical " tag " 
with which so many of his early works conclude. 
As this 1 passage is interesting from the personal 
point of view, it may be quoted at length : 

This humble praise, lamented shade, 1 receive 1 
This praise at least a grateful mus'e may give. 
The muse, whose early voice you taught to sing, 
Prescribed her heights, and pruned her tender wing * 
(Her guide now lost), no more attempts to rise, 
But in low numbers short excursions tries ; 
Content, if hence th* unlearned their wants may view, 
The learn'd reflect on what before they knew : 
Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame ; 
Still pleased to praise, yet not afraid to blame, 
Averse alike to (latter, or offend; 
Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend, 

The " Essay on Criticism " had no immediate 
popular success. It was published anonymously, 
and hung fire for the first three or four weeks. 
At length the poet sent round copies to several 
"noblemen of taste," and,, the authorship becoming 
known, a vivid interest was presently aroused in 
the piece. Pope declared that he did not expect 
a thousand copies to sell, since " not one gentleman 
in sixty, even of liberal education, could understand 
it.'* This does not say much for the intelligence of 
the gentlemen of the period. The gospel of " good 
sense " preached throughout the poem was received 

1 Walsh had died in 1708, aged 49. 

The "Essay on Criticism" 45 

.. with extraordinary fervour, and as time went on 
made innumerable converts not to say devotees. 
The seed sown by Pope had fallen on good ground 
and multiplied an hundredfold, insomuch that 
throughout the greater part of the eighteenth century 
"good sense 1 ' was the accepted religion of the 
nation. The English people is never happy without 
a catch-word or catch-phrase which is sufficiently 
elastic -to be of almost universal application and / 
sufficiently vague to be interpreted according to in- V / 
dividual pleasure or convenience. Pope contributed \/ 
an enormous number of catch-phrases to the general 
stock, with the result that he was unofficially elected 
" Moralist in Chief" to the British nation. 

The amount of learning displayed in the Essay 
was regarded as almost miraculous, considering the 
age of the author. -How was it possible that u one 
small head could carryall he knew " ? Even Hazlitt 
professed himself unable to account' for the phe- 
nomenon, save on the supposition that " men of 
genius spend the rest of their lives in teaching 
others what they themselves have learned under 
twenty/ 1 It \vas reserved for a modern critic of 
the anti-Popish school, l to point out that the poet 
in his boyhood had read a number of French critical 
works, and had been especially impressed by the 
writings of Racine and Bossu, whose treatises were 
shallow productions, compounded of truisms, pedantic 
fallacies, and doctrines borrowed from antiquity. 
A good deal of the classical information embodied 
in the Essay might have been picked up from 
these French manuals in a single morning. It 
1 The late Mr. Whitwell Elwin. 

*6 Mr. Pope - 

is tolerably clear that Pope had not read all the 
classical authors whom he cites, or he would not 
nave penned the couplet : 

Fancy and art in gay Petronius please, ' 
, The scholar's learning with the courtier's ease. 

'But whatever the extent or the limitation of 
Fope s readmg, the fact remains that he had dis- 
played in this new poem a style which, in point 
and brilliancy, surpassed that of any other living 
.writer. A certain impetus was given to the circula- 
tion of the new work by the appearance of a violent 
, Pamphlet by John Dennis, ' the critic, entitled, 
Reflections, Critical and Satyrical, upon 'a late 
Rhapsody called 'An Essay on Criticism.' " Dennis 
and Blackmore were the only living writers satirised 
in the Essay ; Dennis because, it is supposed, he had 
adversely criticised Pope's "Pastorals," andBlackmore 
because he had attacked Dryden. The offending 
lines were impertinent rather than actually malicious. 
After urging the desirability of critical candour, the . 
poet proceeds : 

John Dennis (1657-1734). Though only the son of a saddler 
he was educated at Harrow and Caius College, Cambridge He 
attracted the attention of the Duke of Marlborough by writin* 
in favour of the war, and was given a place as royal waiter in the 
1 ort of London. He wrote poems in the Pindaric style, tragedies 
comedies, and critical pamphlets. He published in 1703 a treatise 
on The Danger of Priestcraft to Religion and Government which 
was probably one of the reasons why Pope attacked him He 
brought out "The Impartial Critic" in 1693, and "The Advance- 
ment and Reformation of Modern Poetry " in 1703. His tragedy 
Appius and Virginia had a short run at Drury Lane in 1700 and 
early in 171 1 he published "Three Letters on the Genius of 
Shakespeare." Dennis was no doubt angry that Pope had not 
mentioned him among those literary critics who had "restored 
wit's fundamental laws." 

The "Essay on Criticism' 47 

Twere well might critics still this freedom take, ' 
But Appiu.s reddens at each word you speak, 
And stares, tremendous, with a threatening eye, 
Like some fierce tyrant in old tapestry. 

Appius was the hero of Dennis's unsuccessful 
tragedy, and his favourite literary epithet was 
tremendous." The old critic was infuriated by 
what he described as an insult to his person, and 
he lost no time in concocting a reply. In the 
pamphlet, which appeared on June 20, Pope, 
for the first time, was subjected to scurrilous' 
abuse in the guise of criticism. Dennis begmsTy 
complaining that he found himself "attacked, with- 
out any manner, of provocation on his side, and 
attacked in his person instead of his writings, by one 
who was wholly a stranger to him, at a time when 
all the world knew he was persecuted by fortune 
and not only saw that this was attempted in a 
clandestine manner, with the utmost falsehood and 
calumny, but found that all this was done by a 
little affected hypocrite, who had nothing in his 
mouth, at the same time, but truth, candour, friend- 
ship, good nature, humanity, and magnanimity." 
He declares that this young raw author had rashly 
undertaken a task beyond his powers, had borrowed 
from hying and dead, frequently contradicted him- 
self, and was almost perpetually in the wrong 

Among the blunders pointed out by Dennis was 
one at least which Pope thought worth correcting, 
the "bull contained in the following lines : 

What is this wit? .... 

Where wanted, scorned,' and envied where acquired. 

4 8 Mr. Pope 

Wit could not, of course, be scorned where it did 
not exist, unless indeed by the person who wanted it. 1 
But the personal criticism was far more violent 
and -abusive than the literary criticism. Among 
other amenities, Pope is described as a "hunch- 
J backed toad." "I remember," proceeds the enraged 
critic, "a little gentleman whom Mr. Walsh used 
to take into his company, as a double foil to his 
person and capacity. Inquire between Sunninghill 
and Oakingham for a young, short, squat gentleman, 
the very bow of the god of" love, and tell me 
whether he be a proper author to make personal 
reflections? . . . Let the person of a gentleman 
of his parts be never so contemptible, his inward 
man is ten times more ridiculous ; it being impos- 
sible that his outward form, though it be that of 
a downright monkey, should differ so much from 
human shape as his unthinking, immaterial part 
does from human understanding/' 

Pope seemed at first quite stunned and bewildered 
by this unexpected onslaught; He was uncertain 
how to take it, whether with philosophic contempt 
or with counter violence. Writing to .Cromwell 
three days after the appearance of the pamphlet, he 
says that he is impatiently expecting a visit from 
his friend. "A little room and a little heart are 
both at your service, and you may be secure of 
being easy in your own way, though not happy ; 
for you shall go just your own way and keep your 
own hours, which is more than can be done often 
in places of greater entertainment. . . . 

1 Pope changed the line to 

And still the more we give, the more required, 

The Essay on Criticism " 49 

^ P.S. Pray bring a very considerable number of 

pint-bottles with you. This might seem a strange 
odd request, if you had not told me you would stay 
but as many days as you brought bottles. . . . 
Mr.. Lintot favoured me with a sight of Mr. Dennis's 
piece of fine satire before it was published. I desire 
you to read it and give me your opinion in what 
manner it ought to be answered." 

The subject was further discussed in letters with 
a new friend, who about this time made his 
appearance in the correspondence. This was Mr. 
John Caryll, a Catholic gentleman, who lived at 
Ladyholt, in Sussex. 1 Being related to the Engle- 
fields of Whiteknights and the Blounts.of Maple- 
durham, he had no doubt made Pope's acquaintance 
through the agency of one of these families. The 
correspondence seems to have begun in July tyro, 
but did not become intimate or frequent till the 
following year. 

On June 25, 1711, P ope sends Caryll Dennis's 
pamphlet, which, he says, "equally abounds in 
just criticisms and fine railleries. I am of opinion 
that such a critic as you will find him, by the latter 
part of his book, is in no way to be properly answered 
but by a wooden weapon, and I should perhaps 
have sent him a present from Windsor Forest of 
one of the best and toughest oaken plants between 
Sunninghill and Oakingham, if he had not informed 
me in his Preface that he is at this time persecuted 
* Caryll had another estate at East Grinstead, where he some- 
times resided. He was nephew to the Caryll who followed 
James II. into exile, and was by him created a peer Pope's 
friend, as next heir, was called "Honourable" by the' Jacobite 



* Mr. Pope 

by fortune^ This, I protest, I knew not the least 
of before ; if I had, his name had been spared in 
the Essay for that only reason. I cannot conceive 
what ground he has for so excessive, a resentment, 
nor imagine how these three lines can be called 
.a reflection on his person which only describe his 
being subject a little to colour and stare on some 
occasions, which are revolutions that happen some- 
ttmes m the best and most regular faces in 
Christendom. . . . Yet, to give this man his due 
he has objected to one or two lines with reason, and 
1 will alter them in the case of another edition " 

In a later letter to Caryll p ope says that -he is 
resolved never to make the least reply to Dennis's 
attacks, because he is of opinion that if a book 
cannot answer for itself to the public it is to no 
sort of purpose for its author to do so. Besides 
Dennis s onslaught has really been of advantage 
to h,m by making him friends and open abettors 
of several gentlemen of known sense and wit, and 
of proving to him that his trifles are taken some 
notice of by the world in general. At this time, and 
throughout his whole life, P ope professed to despise 
his own .productions. In reply to compliments 
from Caryll, he protests: "I know too well the 
vast difference between those who truly deserve 
the name of poets and men of wit and one who 
is nothing but what he owes to them ; and I keep 
the pictures of Dryden, Milton, Shakespeare, etc 
in my chamber round about me, that the constant 
remembrance of them may keep me always humble " 


New Literary Projects " The Unfortunate 

TTHE "Essay on Criticism, 11 following as it did 
A the successful " Pastorals,' 1 brought the 

author fresh reputation among his friends, and intro- 
duced him to several new and distinguished acquaint- 
ances in the literary world. It is in July 1711 that 
Steele makes his first appearance among Pope's 
correspondents. He writes to ask the young poet 
whether he is at leisure u to help Mr. Clayton, that 
is me, to some words for music against Christmas/' 
This request inspired the " Ode on St. Cecilia's 
Day" an unfortunate choice of subject, since Pope's 
Ode had to stand comparison with Dfyden's Ode. 

On December 20 a belated review by Addison of 
the " Essay on Criticism " appeared in fAe Spectator. 1 
The notice was generally considered a favourable 
one, though the tendency to "hint a fault" and 
." damn with faint praise" is not altogether absent. 
Still, Addison sets out by describing the Essay as 
a masterpiece of its kind, and continues : 

"The observations follow one another like those 

1 The Tatter had come to an end in January 1711, and had 
been succeeded by The Spectator^ under the joint management 
of Steele and Addison, in the following March. 


> Mr. Pope 

in Horace's 'Art of Poetry,' without the methodical 
regularity which would have been requisite in a 
prose author. They are some of them uncommon, 
but such as the reader must assent to when -he sees 
them explained with that elegance and perspicuity in 
which they are delivered. As for those which are 
the most known, and the most received, they are 
placed -m so beautiful a light, and illustrated with 
such apt allusions, that they have in them all the 
graces of novelty, and make the reader, who was 
before acquainted with them, still more convinced of 
their truth and solidity." 

There is a more acrid note in the remark that 

in England a man seldom sets up for a poet 

without attacking the reputation of all his brothers 

m the art. The ignorance of the moderns, the 

scribblers of the age, the decay of poetry, are' the 

topics of detraction with which he makes his entrance 

into the world. I am sorry to find that an author, 

: who is very justly esteemed among the best judges, 

has admitted some strokes of this kind into a very 

fine poem I mean the ' Art of Criticism.' " 

Pope was delighted with the praise and, for once 
bowed his neck to the blame. 1 He took .for granted 
that the article, was by Steele, to whom he wrote 
a letter of thanks on December 30. He has been 
spending Christmas with some honest country gentle- 

"' ^ CritiCS " TheE P istle < *>' Arbuthnot," 

Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret ? 

1 never answered I was not in 'debt. 

Did some more sober critic come abroad ? 
If wrong, I smiled ; if right, I kissed the rod. 

New Literary Projects 53 

men, who never read The Spectator^ and he has, there- 
fore, only just seen the number of December 20, 
"wherein, though it be the highest satisfaction to 
find oneself commended by a person whom all the 
world commends, yet I am not more obliged to you 
for that than for your candour and frankness in 
acquainting me with the error I have been guilty of 
in speaking too freely of my brother moderns. .... 
But if ever this Essay be thought worth a second 
edition, I shall be very glad to strike out all such 
strokes which you shall be so kind as to point out 
to me/ 1 

Steele wrote to explain that the review of Pope's 
poem " was written by one with whom I will make 
you acquainted, which is the best return I can make 
you for your favour." Thus we may suppose that 
, early in this year, 1712, Pope was introduced to 

j Addison, who had lately migrated with his following 
| from Will's to Button's coffee-house, where he now 
! " gave his little senate laws.' 1 

I John Gay now makes. his first appearance on the 

scene. He was three years older than Pope, having 
been born at Barnstaple in 1685. Left an orphan at 
the age of ten, he was apprenticed, as soon as his 
school-days were over, to a silk mercer in London. 
But Gay felt that he was intended for better things 
than to serve behind a counter. He contrived to 
obtain his freedom before his articles were out, and, 
after staying with relations at Barnstaple for some 
months, he returned to London, where in May, 1708, 
he made his literary dbut with a poem in blank 
verse called " Wine/ 1 an imitation of John Philip's 
"Cider." How he lived during the years immediately 

54 Mr. Pope 

following this effort has never been made clear. He 
was presumably engaged in some kind of literary 
hackwork for the booksellers. 

The first mention of him in Pope's correspondence 
appears in a letter to Cromwell (December 31,1711), 
in which the poet says : " I would willingly return 
Mr. Gay my thanks for the favour of his poem, and 
in particular for his kind mention of me." This is 
probably an allusion to Gay's " Lines on a Miscellany 
of Poems," addressed to Bernard Lintot, and pub- 
lished in the " Miscellany " issued by Lintot in May, 
1712. After alluding to various other writers, Gay 
proceeds : 

When Pope's harmonious muse with pleasure roves, 
Amidst the plains, the murm'ring streams and groves, 
.Attentive Echo, pleased to hear his songs, 
Through the glad shade each warbling note prolongs ; 
His various numbers charm our ravished ears, 
His early judgment far outstript his years, 
And early in the youth the god appears. 

Down to this period we have heard but little 
of any women acquaintance except the two Sapphos, 
though Pope was accustomed to drag in a knowing 
allusion to the " fair sex " when writing to Cromwell, 
who, a man of the world in his rough way, seldom 
or never took any notice of these insinuations. He 
prided himself on being a litterateur as well as a 
rake, and his friendship with Pope was founded on 
their common taste for literature. At this time he 
was urging the poet to try his hand at a drama. 

" Leave elegy and translation to the inferior class," 
he had written (December 7, 1711), " on whom the 
Muses only glance now and then, like our winter 


Literary Projects ss 

snow, and th leaye them . n the dark> 

the chgmty of tragedy, which is of the greater poetry 

as Denms.says, and foil him at his other weapoT 

as you have done in criticism. Every one wonders' 

that a-.gen.ui l,ke yours will not support the sinking 

.drama ; and Mr. Wilks,' though I think his tal ? 

.comedy, has expressed a glorious ambition to 

swell m your buskins. We have had a poor 

St ? H J h r n>S ' (n0t Ben > Which held *-cn 
-night* and got h,m three hundred pounds; for the 

town is sharp-set on new plays " 

turnTT' 5 u'. Wa ' desirous ^at Pope should 
turn h boy,sh ep lc into a tragedy, but the young 
man, as soon as he ^ ^ Y S 

, U n Writi "g ^ 

stage He had been quick to see "how much 

everybody that did write for the stage was obW d 

}u s ;t n ;i ; mselves to , the pkyers and the to - - 

he ll,- H TV 0) thCre WCre S P ecial Basons why 
he f k d lslnc h n ed to embark upon any piece of work 

"a ptv H h SO A aiard US t0 " **** re 
f 6 ^ I 6 " lmpr Vin S his ac q 
htCr of 

uhan Fh " n o *P- 

durham This ancient Catholic family consisted 
at th!. tl me of Mr. Lister Blount, his Jon Michaet 

^^^^^?t Hewasas - 

for nearly twenty years'from ^ ^ *"* D ggett 


regard. After Betterton's death t entCrtamed for Wm a high 
cation of some of h s ChaucTr -?* 1 ^^ for the ' 
profits being g i ven t h 


and two 



Mr. Poise 

Martha and 
born in 

, a 




m -he 

to me to consider 

I" escape 

" ! 


or ambition Le me bu 

er th*t UM i oaton 

^^ ^J ^his-period, 

^r 0011 " 11 ^'^ 

these n m 7 
devil or let 
would I 
Pastorals - 

and a 

wou]d , 



f ' 

Wn ' let th ^ 
ever " 'How g i adly 

"*' / 

f or the 

own t 

com pose mv 


,e at this 

himself about the mat i m , g * n to CMCe 

Mrs. Weston, who , """^ f " Cc ai 
. wno ls commonly supposed to be the 

"The Unfortunate Lady" 57 

original of the Unfortunate Lady of the famous 
Elegy. Mrs - Weston was the daughter of Joseph 
Gage, of Firle, a Roman Catholic, and she was 
married to John Weston, of Sutton, in Surrey. The 
marriage was an unhappy one, and husband and wife 
were temporarily separated. Mr. Weston wished 
to claim his infant -daughter. Sir William Goring 
Mrs. -Weston's guardian, refused to interfere, and 
the young wife had some thoughts of retiring into 
a convent The Roman Catholic families in the 
neighbourhood seem to have taken sides in the 
afiair, and Pope, who had a quixotic streak in his 
compos.tion, came forward as the ardent champion 
of Mrs. Weston, who, by the way, does not appear 
to have shown much gratitude for his support. 
That he was a little in love with her, and believed 

b 71, rf e f nursing a si]ent ' h P eless P assio > y 

be gathered from a passage in a letter he wrote 
to her -on hearing of her intention to enter a 

world if only for the sake of the world, he pro- 
frTendsT **"*** **** * *** ^ ^ *%%* 
"Wheresoever Providence shall dispose of the 
most valuable thing I know, I shall ever follow 
YOU with nw cinr^^o*. _:,.i_ i . roiiow 

1 ope s interference in this domestic broil brought 
him sorne good copy," and the annoyance * 
usuan^ , to ^ a 7 b th^t 

stick. He fell foul of his half-sister, Mrs. Rackett 

* 8 Mr. Pope 

and her husband because, as neighbours of the 
Westons, they refused to quarrel with the tyrannical 
husband, and he stirred up his friends the Carylls 
and Mrs. "Sappho" Nelson to intercede with the 
apathetic guardian, Sir William Goring. In a letter 
to Caryll, of June 18, 1711, he begs his friend 
to let h:m know the result of a conference with 
Sir William, and adds : 

^ " Unless you have already done it to her, I shall 
be glad to inform her [Mrs. Weston], to whom 
every-little prospect of ease is a great relief in these 
circumstances. I am certain a letter from yours.elf 
or lady would be a much greater consolation to her 
than your humility will afford either of you to 
imagine. To relieve the injured if you will 
pardon a poetical expression in prose is no less than 
to take the work of God Himself off His hands, and 
an easing Providence of its care." 

The "Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate 
Lady was not published till 1717, but, as it was 
probably written about this period, it may best be 
dealt with here. The poem appears to be written 
round a lady who committed suicide in a foreign 
land, deserted by her friends because she had loved 
too well. The story was thus only remotely con- 
nected with that of Mrs. Weston, who died in her 
bed seven years after the poem appeared ; but there 
is a realistic touch in the denunciation of "the false 
guardian of a charge too good," the mean deserter 
of a brother's blood." The poet, in impassioned 
lines, calls down Heaven's vengeance on the heads of 
the whole family, their wives and their children and 
assures them that frequent funerals shall besiege 

"The Unfortunate Lady" 59 

their gates. Then, in lines that were once vastly 
admired for their pathos and eloquence, he asks : 

What can atone, O ever injured shade! 
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ? 
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear 
Pleased thy pale ghost or graced thy mournful bier, 
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed, 
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed, 
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned, 
By strangers honoured, and by strangers mourned. 

After a musical, though artificial, description of the 
lady's tomb, with its early roses and silver-winged 
angels, we come to the usual little biographical hint 
in the concluding lines : 

Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung, 
Deaf the praised ear and mute the tuneful tongue. 
Ev'n he whose soul now melts in mournful lays 
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays. 
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, 
And th'e last pang shall tear thee from his heart ; 
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er, 
The muse forgot, and thou beloved no more ! 

This Elegy, together with the " Epistle of Eloisa 
to Abelard," was supposed to prove Pope's mastery 
over the pathetic. It was claimed that no one could 
read it without being moved to tears. But in truth 
the pathos has acquired, with the passing of years, 
.a somewhat hollow ring. The poem sounds, to 
modern ears, like the tour de force of a young man 
who really enjoyed the luxury of woe. Pale ghosts 
and decent limbs and kind domestic tears no longer 
move us with a sense of anything but boredom. 
But naturally, when the Elegy appeared, with that 
tantalising little personal note at the end, the poet's 

60 Mr. Pope 

friends were much " intrigued," and begged to know 
the name and actual story of the Unfortunate Lady. 
But Pope, whose unhappy love for the. victim was 
as much a myth as his passionate regret for her 
imaginary fate, persistently evaded all inquiries. 
The consequence was that a series of sensational 
legends was woven around the commonplace story. 
One solemn biographer declared that the Unfortunate 
Lady had been forced abroad by her cruel guardian 
in consequence of an unsuitable love-affair, and that, 
wearying of her exile, she put an end to her troubles 
with a sword. Another had heard that Voltaire had 
told Condorcet that she nursed a hopeless passion 
for the Due de Berry, and that she took her life with 
a noose. A third had discovered that she was a 
deformed lady who was madly in love with Pope, 
and destroyed herself because her guardian would 
not consent to the mesalliance. The end of the 
whole matter is that little Mrs. Weston, of Sutton, 
has attained a lasting fame, and figures, with Patty 
Blount and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, as one of 
the ladies whom Pope adored and sang. 





: * The Messiah' 1 44 The Rape of the Lock" 

POPE had been invited by Steele to contribute 
to Vhe Spectator, and in the number for May 
14, 1712, appeared "The Messiah, an Imitation 
of Virgil's c Pollio.' " 1 Steele introduced the poern 
to his readers in terms of the most friendly flattery. 
"1 will make no apology," he writes, "for enter- 
taining the reader with the following poem, which 
is written by a great genius, a friend of mine in 
the country, who is not ashamed to employ his wit 
in the praise of his Maker.*' 

He assured the author privately that all the 
sublimity of the original had been preserved, and 
that the piece was superior to the ." Pollio." But 
from the modern point of view Isaiah, on whose 
prophecies the work was based, does not appear 
" to advantage dressed " in eighteenth-century cos- 
tume, and the poem, though admired by Pope's 

1 In his advertisement to the poem Pope said that, in reading 
several passages of the prophet Isaiah, he could not but observe 
a remarkable resemblance between many of the thoughts and 
those in the " Pollio * of Virgil, which was taken from a Sibylline 
prophecy. u The Messiah," he explains, was written with this 
particular view, " that the reader, by comparing the several 
thoughts, might see how far the images and descriptions of the 
prophet are superior to those of the poet." 


62 Mr. Pope 

contemporaries, has made no very strong appeal to 
later critics. 

The taste which held that Isaiah had been im- |' 

proved upon" may be gauged by a comparison 
between one of the prophecies of the Oriental seer 
and its flowery paraphrase by the Queen Anne 
poet. Thus, Isaiah looks forward to that 'millennial 
day when "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, 
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and 
the calf and the young lion and the fading together; . 
and. a 'little child shall lead them. And the lion 
shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking 
child shall play on the hole of the asp, and' the 
weaned child shall put his hand on the den of the 

' Pope, no doubt, found it quite an easy task 
to transform the prophecy into smooth, melodious 


verse : 

The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead, 

And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead ; 

The steer and lion at one crib shall meet, 

And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet. 

The smiling infant in his hand shall take 
The crested basilisk and speckled snake, 
; Pleased, the green lustre of the scales survey, 
; And with their forky tongues shall innocently play.* 

A little- later in the month of May appeared 
the Miscellany " of Bernard Lintot, upon which Gay 

J *1 C S * a " feed ? is fl ck like a shepherd is rendered, As the 
good shepherd tends his fleecy care," Again, "The wilderness 
and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert 
shall rejoice and blossom as the rose" is thus paraphrased : 

The swain in barren deserts with surprise 
. Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise. 

"The Messiah" 63 

had written his laudatory verses. This contained 
Pope's paraphrase of " The Wife of Bath," his trans- 
lation of the first book of the " Thebais " of Statius, 
the "Lines to a Young Lady," and the original 
draft of what was to prove the most popular of 
his works, "The Rape of the Lock." * The draft 
consisted of only two cantos, and had been dashed 
off, so the poet declared, in a fortnight. The 
poem itself must be considered in its completed 
state; it will be sufficient here to glance at the 
incidents which led to its composition. 

The young Lord Petre 2 had playfully cut a lock 
from the head of that famous beauty, Miss Arabella 
Fermor, daughter of Mr. Fermor of Tusmore. 
Both families were Catholics, and both were friends 
of the Carylls. A quarrel arising out of the theft, 
Caryll suggested that Pope should write a good- 
humoured skit on the subject, in the hope of 
reconciling the parties to the squabble. This 
manoeuvre was not a striking success. The poet 
was barely acquainted with the lady, who seems to 
" have felt rather insulted than soothed by his tribute, 
while Sir George Brown, of Keddington, the original 
of " Sir Plume, was naturally indignant at being 
exhibited in a ridiculous light. 

For some time before its publication the poem 
had been handed round in manuscript, and as late 

1 The "Miscellany "also contained "Chaucer's Characters; or, 
The Introduction to the Canterbury Tales," by Thomas Betterton. ' 
, These " Characters " are believed to have been corrected, if not 
actually written, by Pope himself, who published them for the 
benefit of Betterton's widow. 

* Robert, seventh Baron Petre. He died in 1713, aged only 

6 * Mr. Pope 

as May I5 Caryll wrote to ask, "But where 
hangs the Lock now ? Though, I know that, rather 
than draw any just reflection upon yourself of the 
least" shadow of ill nature, you would freely have 
suppressed one of the best of your poems." 
Again, a copy of the " Miscellany " was sent by Pope 
to Martha Blount on May 25, with the following 
letter which proves that his principal contribution 
had long been familiar to her: 


"At last I do myself the honour to send you 
'The Rape of the Lock,' which has been so. long 
coming out that the lady's charms might have been 
half decayed while the poet was celebrating them 
and the printer publishing them. But yourself and 
your fair sister must needs have been surfeited 
already with this trifle ; and therefore, you have no 
hopes of entertainment, but from the rest of this 
book, wherein (they tell me) are some .things that 
may be dangerous to be looked upon : however, 
I venture to think you may venture, though you 
should blush for it, since blushing* becomes you 
the best of any lady in England, and the most 
dangerous thing to be looked upon is yourself. 
Indeed, madam, not to flatter you, our virtue will 
be sooner overthrown by one glance of yours than 
by all the wicked poets can write in an age, as 
has been too dearly experienced by the wickedest 
of them all, that is to say, by, 

" Madam, your most obedient, etc." 
1 This was probably an allusion to 'the grossness of "The Wife 
of Bath," though it might also apply to the flattery contained in 
the "Lines to a Young Lady." 

'"The Rape of the Lock * 65 

The poem entitled " Lines to a Young Lady, 
with the Works of Voiture," is now known as 
the "Epistle to Miss Blount. " v The verses open 
with a welUturned tribute to Voiture, whose death 
is said to have been deplored by rival wits, and 
mourned by the gay who never mourned before. 

The truest hearts for Voiture heaved with sighs, 
Voiture was wept by all the brightest eyes. 

The poet proceeds to warn his lady against too 
hastily assuming the chains of matrimony. Not 
being in a position to marry himself, he was 
probably jealous of the eligible lovers who were 
fluttering round the charming Martha Blount. In 
true " feminist " style he deplores the severity of 
the forms and customs by which women are 

By nature yielding, stubborn but for fame ; 
Made slaves by honour, and made fools by shame ; 
Marriage may all those petty tyrants chase, 
But sets up one, a greater, in their place. 

Miss Blount is exhorted, in a passage that could 
scarcely have commended itself to her parents, not 
to quit 

The free innocence of life 
For the dull glory of a virtuous wife. 

The mournful fate of an imaginary Pamela is 
described. The gods had cursed Pamela With ,her 
prayers, had given her the shining robes, rich 
jewels, gilt coach and Flanders mares, for which her 
soul had craved, and to complete her bliss a fool 
for mate. 

1 Published in Pope's works as Epistle IX. 
VOL. I . 5 

66 Mr. Pope 

She glares in bails, front boxes and the Ring, 
A vain, unquiet, glittering, wretched thing ! 
Pride, pomp, and state but reach the outward part ; 
She sighs, and is no duchess at her heart. 

But if Miss Blount is destined to be " Hymen's 
..willing victim/' she is .advised not to trust too much 
to her resistless charms, since love that is raised 
on beauty will as soon decay! 

Good humour only teaches charms to last, 
; Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past. 

It. was through 'good humour, charm, and wit 
that Voiture and his ladies still lived and still 

Now crowned with myrtle on the Elysian coast, 

Amid those lovers, joys his gentle ghost : 

Pleased, while with smiles his happy lines you view, 

And finds a fairer Rambouillet l in you. 

The brightest eyes of France inspired his Muse, 

The brightest eyes of Britain now peruse ; 

And dead, as living, 'tis our author's pride 

Still to charm those who charm the world beside. 

That Pope made some stay in London during 
the spring of I 7I2 may be inferred from the fact 
that he had a bad attack of illness in the summer. 
In a letter to Steele (July 15) he moralises on 
the ^ blessings of ill health in his best copy-book 
fashion. The danger that threatened him he regarded 
as an advantage to his youth, since he was un~ 
dazzled by the attractions of the world, and began, 
where most people end, with a full conviction of 
Mademoiselle de Rambouillet, daughter of the Marquise de 
^ the CCntre f thC S dety ^ n Which 

".The Rape of the Lock " 67 

the emptiness of all sorts of ambition, and the 
unsatisfactoriness ' of all human pleasures. "When 
a smart fit of sickness tells me this scurvy tenement 
of my body will fall in a little time, I am even as 
unconcerned as was that honest Hibernian who, 
being in bed in the great storm some years ago, 
and told the house would tumble over his head, 
made answer, c What care I for the house ? I am 
only a lodger/ " 

On the day that this letter was written Mr. 
Caryll's son was married to Lady Mary McKensie, 
and Pope, who had advised the bridegroom to " fear 
the Lord, love his lady, and read The fatler" was 
invited to accompany the happy pair to Ladyholt 
for a couple of months. The invitation was, no 
doubt, prompted by a kindly thought, since his 
.circumstances may not have allowed of the change 
that his health needed, but the choice of tertium quid 
seems a curious one. Pope himself felt the strange- 
ness of his position, for he wrote to the elder Caryll : 
"As no happiness comes without some alloy, so 
it seems the young gentleman must carry me down 
with his fair lady ; and I shall supply the place of 
the Egyptian skeleton at the entertainments on your 
return. 1 But I shall be satisfied to make an odd 
figure in your triumphs for the pleasure I shall 
take in attending them/* 

Marvellous to relate, the honeymoon waxed and 
waned, and the oddly assorted trio still remained 
on terms of peace and amity. In November Pope, 
now back at Binfield, wrote the bridegroom a long 
and cordial letter, in which he gave some account of 
4 Caryl! was going to France for a few weeks on business. 


Mr* Pope 

the troubles that his quixotic actions had brought 
upon him. 

"Sir Plume blusters, I hear ; nay, the celebrated 
lady herself is offended, and, which is stranger, 
Mr. W[estori]i they say, is gloomy upon the matter 
- the tyrant meditates revenge ; nay, the distressed 
dame herself has been taught to suspect I served 
her but by halves, and without prudence. Is not 
this enough to make a man for the future neither 
presume to blame injustice nor- pity ignorance, as 
in Mrs. Weston's case; to make a writer never be 
tender of another's character or fame, as in Belinda's ; 
to act with more reserve and write with less ? 

A month later Mr. Weston was still glooming 
and Sir Plume still blustering he had indeed 
threatened the poet with a beating. " Whipped 
wits," wrote Pope, " like whipped creams, afford a 
sweet and delectable syllabub to the taste of the 
town, and often please them better with the dessert 
than all the meal they had before. So if Sir Plume 
should take the pains to dress me, I might possibly 
make the last course better than the first When 
a stale, cold fool is well heated and hashed by a 
satirical cook, he may be tossed up into a kickshaw 
not disagreeable." 

In the course of this winter (1712-13) Pope 
finished a poem called "The Temple of Fame," 1 
which he begged Steele to read and correct. Steele 
replied that he could find "a thousand thousand 
beauties," but not anything to be called a fault, 
and added, " I desire you would let me know 
whether you are at leisure or not. I have a design 
1 This was not published till 1715. 


> \ 


From an cnjfravin fc ' by C. Picart after the picture by Sir Peter Lelj-. 


44 The Guardian " . 69 

which I shall open in a month or two hence, with 
the assistance of a few like yourself." 

This design was the founding of a new periodical, 
The Guardian, which, it was hoped, would take the 
place of The Spectator. The request for assistance 
was a high compliment from an established man 
of letters like Steele, and Pope eagerly responded: 
" I shall be very ready and glad to contribute to 
any design that tends to the advantage of mankind, 
which, I am sure, all yours do. I wish I had but 
as much capacity as leisure, for I am perfectly idle 
a sign I have not much capacity." 

Mr. CarylFs visit to France had been regarded 
with some suspicion by the authorities, on account 
of his family connection with the Pretender's Court, 
and some abusive attacks upon him had appeared in 
The Flying Post. Pope wrote to the younger Caryll 
to offer his only weapon his pen <f in reply to, 
or raillery upon, that scoundrel. 1 ' But Caryll, or 
his son for him, declined the offer with decision, 
and the poet, feeling perhaps that he had made 
a mistake in suggesting that any notice should be 
taken of a scurrilous attack, wrote in semi-apologetic 
vein : 

" It was never in my thoughts to offer you my 
poor pen in any direct reply to such a scoundrel, 
who, like Hudibras, need fear no blows but such 
as bruise, but "only in some little raillery in the 
most contemptuous manner thrown upon him, not 
in your defence expressly, but as in scorn of him 
en gaietd de ccsur. But indeed your opinion that it 
is to be entirely neglected would have been my 
own at first, had it been my own case; but I felt 

7 Mr. Pope 

sbme. warmth at the first notion, which my reason 
could not suppress here, as it did when I saw Dennis's 
book against me, which made me very heartily 
merry in two minutes' time." * 

Pope had often declared that his letters were 
scribbled with all the carelessness and inattention 
imaginable, and that his style, like his soul, appeared 
in its natural undress before his friend. There were 
so many things that he desired to be thought besides 
a wit "a. Christian, a friend, a frank companion, 
and. a well-natured fellow/' After this it is rather 
a shock to find him applying to Caryll for the return 
of the whole cargo of these undressed letters. Care- 
less as they were, it appeared that there were some 
- thoughts in them, dashed off in the heat of the 
moment, which might be of use to him for a design 
in which he had lately engaged. 

Caryll complied with this request, without 
mentioning the fact that he had taken copies of all 
the letters. In his acknowledgment Pope remarks : 

"You have shown me, I must confess, several of 
my faults in the light of these letters. Upon a 
review of them, I find many things that would give 
me shame, if I were not more desirous to be thought 
honest than prudent. So many things freely thrown 
out, such lengths of undeserved friendship, thoughts 
just warm from the brain without any polishing or 
dress, the very deshabille of the understanding." 
In spite of Pope's claim to exceptional honesty and 
candour of speech, Caryll had thought it necessary 

1 In Pope's published correspondence a portion of this letter 
has been printed as addressed to Addison on July 20, 1713. The 
Flying Post is changed to "John Dennis," 

Quarrel with GromwcII 7.1 

to rebuke his young friend mildly for his tendency 
to flatter, alluding to certain inflated compliments as 
" Popish tricks/' Pope replied that it would have 
been more just to call them Catholic tricks, since 
they were in a manner universal, but promised in 
the future " to do you as much injustice in my words 
as you do yourself in your thoughts/* 

Pope's friendship with " honest Cromwell " came, 
about this period, to an untimely end. Their quarrel 
was probably due to some literary cause, for Pope 
had accused Cromwell of pedantry, and Cromwell 
had detected Pope in a plagiarism from Voiture. 
The poet told Gay that he thought Cromwell had 
been annoyed by " some or other of my freedoms 
that I very innocently take, and most with those I 
think my friends/' 

Gay, with whom the most irascible could never 
pick a quarrel, had lately been appointed Steward or 
Secretary to the old Duchess of Monmouth a post 
which he owed, as greater men owed their places 
under Government, to his literary reputation. He 
wrote to inform Pope of his piece of good fortune, 
and the poet replied (December 25) : 

" You are not in the least mistaken when you 
congratulate me upon your own good success, for I 
have more people out of whom to be happy than 
any ill-natured man can boast of. ... Ourselves are 
easily provided for; it is nothing but the. circum- 
stantials and the apparatus or equipage of human 
life that cost so much in the furnishing. Only what 
a luxurious man wants for himself, a good-nature4 
man wants for hi$ friends ? or the indigent/' 


"Windsor Forest " The Production of Cato * 
TN the spring of 1713 Pope brought out his poem, 
A . "Windsor Forest," which he had begun, if we 
may accept his own statement, as early as 1704, 
and completed in the winter of 1712. Lord Lans- 
downe had instigated the poet to write the .panegyric 
on the Peace of Utrecht with which the piece con- 
cludes, and it was to Lord Lansdowne that the work 
was dedicated. On January 10, 1713, Pope sent his 
patron the manuscript to "correct," together with his 
thanks for giving the poem its greatest ornament- 
that of bearing his Lordship's name on the first page. 
"I am not so vain as to think," he adds, "I have 
shown you a favour in sparing your modesty, and 
you cannot but make me some return for prejudic- 
ing the truth to gratify you. This, I beg, may be 
the free correction of these verses, which will have 
few beauties but what may be made by your blots. 
I am in the circumstances of an ordinary p; inter 
drawing Sir Godfrey Kneller, who by a few touches 
of his own could make the piece very valuable." 1 
1 This is only too apt an illustration of Pope's own verses : 
What woeful stuff this madrigal would be 
In some starved hackney sonneteer, or me 1 
But let a lord once own the happy lines, 
How the wit brightens ! how the style refines 1 

. "Windsor Forest 1 ' 73 

Sir William Trumbull asserted that it was he who 
originally suggested the theme, In a letter to a 
friend, written shortly after the publication of the 
poem, the old diplomatist observes, with an evident 
sense of injury, I should have commended his 
[Pope's] poem on Windsor Forest much more if 
he had not served me a slippery trick ; for you 
must know I had long since put him upon this 
subject, gave several hints, and at last, when he 
brought it and read it, and made some little altera- 
tions,, etc., not one word of putting in my name till 
I found it m print." 

The first part of the work, which was evidently 
suggested by Sir John Denham's " Cooper's Hill," 
shows the young poet still in-the imitative stage, his 
descriptions of nature still smelling of the coffee- 
house, his pages still weighted with the mythological 
deities whose dreary pretensions Addison had al- 
ready laughed away in the pages of The Spectator. l 

A descriptive poem is not usually distinguished for 
the strength of its " fable, 1 ' and " Windsor Forest " 
was certainly no exception to the rule. A brief 
picture of the peace and beauty of the Forest under 
the beneficent reign of a Stuart is followed by a 
retrospective glance at the dismal time when, beneath 
the iron hand of the Conqueror 

The fields are ravished from th' industrious swains, 

From men their cities, and from gods their fanes ; 

The levelled towns with weeds he covered o'er ; 

The hollow winds through naked temples roar; 
1 In The Spectator for October 30, 1712, Addison ridicules the 
practice of bringing in the fables of pagan mythology, in other 
words a parcel of school -boy tales, to illustrate or adorn a modern 
poem. He concludes by issuing an edict against the custom. 

74 1 Mr. Pope 

. Round broken columns clasping ivy twined ; 

O'er heaps of ruin stalked the stately hind ; 

The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires, 
. And savage howlings fill the sacred -choirs. 

The historical retrospect is followed by an account 
of the field-sports appropriate to each season of the 
year. The poet himself can have taken but a small 
part in the out-door amusements of the Forest, and 
a certain portion of his description is based upon 
smiilar passages in other authors rather than upon 
.actual observation. His natural tenderness for 
animals, which he was obliged to conceal from his 
sporting neighbours, is displayed in the picturesque 
lines upon the wounded pheasant : 

See ! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs, 
And mounts exultant on triumphant wings : 
Short is his joy : he feels the fiery wound, ' 
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground. 
Ah ! what avail his glossy varying dyes, 
His purple crest, and scarlet circled eyes, ' 
The vivid green his shining wings unfold, 
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold ? 

After a description of hunting, in which poor 
gouty Anne is compared to Diana "As bright a 
goddess and as chaste a queen "and of shooting and 
fishing fish being distantly alluded to as " the scaly 
breed" the poet, mindful of the necessity for 
some sort of narrative, suddenly plunges into an 
Ovidian fable. The nymph Lodona, in order to 
escape from the pursuit of Pan, dissolves into a 
stream; known to prosaic mortals as the Loddon. 

In this work Pope shows the first promise of that 
genius for poetic compliment in which he excelled 

Windsor Forest 

u/u to these shades retires 

Who m nature char ms , and whom the 


he replies : 


pamt anew the flowVy sylvan 

hft her turrets nearer to the skies 



7 6 Mr. Pope 

cease," Father Thames rose up from his oozy bed, 
and into his mouth is put the famous panegyric 
on the Peace, from which the following prophecy 
may be quoted : & v r j- 

The time shall come when, free as seas or wind, 
Unbounded Thames shall flow for all mankind, 

Whole nations enter with each swelling tide, 
-And seas but join the regions they divide 

Earth's distant ends our glory shall behold 
And the new world launch forth to seek the old 
Then ships of uncouth form shall stem the tide, 
And feathered people crowd my wealthy side ; ' 
And naked youths and painted chiefs admire ' 
Our speech, our colour, and our strange attire. '' 
Oh ! stretch thy reign, fair Peace ! from shore to shore, 
Till conquest cease and slavery be no more 
Till the freed Indians, in their native groves, 

Reap their own fruits and woo their sable loves 
Peru once more a race of kings behold, 
And other Mexicos be roofed with gold. 

To give even a fictitious lustre to the inglorious 
Peace of Utrecht the inspiration of genius was neces- 
sary. The Whigs and Tories appear to have ex- 
changed characters since the days of Anne. Then 
the Tones were the Little Englanders, the lovers of 
peace at any price, economical of their country's 
glory, willing to rob- Marlborough and England of 
the fruits of victory as long as they could save the 
tax-payers' pockets, and hang on to power a few 
years longer. The Opposition regarded the terms 
of the Peace with mingled rage and humiliation, and 
Pope s Whig friends entirely disapproved of the senti- 
ments of Father Thames. But it is impossible to 
believe Spence's story that Addison was inexpres- 
sibly chagrined at the noble conclusion of < Windsor 

" Windsor Forest w 77 

Forest, 1 both as a politician and as a poet as a 

politician, because it so highly celebrated that treaty 
of peace which he deemed so pernicious to the 
liberties of Europe ; and as a poet, because he was 

f] deeply conscious that his own * Campaign,* that 
gazette in rhyme, contained no strokes of such genius 
and sublime poetry.'* 

Few men have been more free from such petti- 

fc ness than Addison. He showed how deep was his 
chagrin by inviting Pope to write the Prologue 
to CatO) which was performed on April 14 of this . 
year. The young poet, who was quite shrewd \ 

|j enough to perceive the wisdom of being all things to 
all parties, readily undertook to write the Prologue 
to a tragedy that was put forth at the desire of the 
Opposition. It was hoped that this episode from 
. Roman history would be accepted by the nation as 
a warning of what they might expect at the hands of 
an arbitrary Government. 

Pope spent the early months of 1713 in 
London, studying painting under his friend Jervas. 1 
He had been worried by the squabbles that raged 
round Mrs. Weston and her matrimonial affairs, and 
was evidently glad to escape from the neighbourhood 
of the Forest till the storm had blown over. That 
1 J he had suffered the common fate of those who 
interfere in family squabbles may be gathered from 

1 Charles Jervas, the portrait-painter (c. 1675-1739). He was 
a pupil of Kneller's, and apparently almost as vain as his master. 
He painted many of the beautiful women of his time, and a number 
of literary men, including Pope, Swift, Arbuthnot, and Newton. 
He was supposed to be in love with the D'uke of Marlborough's 
daughter, Lady Bridgewater. Jervas made a translation of " Don 
Quixote," which ran through many editions. 

7 8 Mr* Pope 

a letter in which he complains, with a touch of 
bitterness :" It is a common practice now for 
ladies to contract friendships as the great folks in 
ancient times entered into leagues. They sacrificed 
a poor animal between them, and commenced in- 
violable allies ipso facto. So now they pull some 
harmless little creature into pieces, and worry his 
character together very comfortably. Mrs. Nelson 
and Mrs. Englefield have served me just thus, the 
former of whom has done me -all the ill offices that 
lay in her way, particularly with Mrs.- W[eston], and 
at Whiteknights." 

'At twenty-five Pope found himself the most 
fashionable poet of his day. Society opened its doors 
to him, and persons of quality thought .themselves 
honoured by his friendship. At the clubs and 
coffee-houses he had taken his place among the 
reigning wits, and even at Button's Addison was not 
secure of his supremacy. Swift, now engaged in 
pouring out his pugnacious pamphlets and bullying 
his " Brothers " in the Court and Cabinet, was one of . 
Pope's most ardent admirers. In. his "Journal to 
Stella" he noted that Mr. Pope had written a very 
fine poem called " Windsor Forest," and Stella was 
commanded to read it. A little later he was to use his 
powerful influence, in the most practical manner, 
for the advantage of his new friend. 

Dennis alone raised, a discordant note, but then, 
to be damned by Dennis was rather a distinction 
than otherwise. " < Windsor Forest/ " wrote the 

; critic in a published letter, " is a wretched rhapsody 
not worthy the observation of a man of sense.' 1 

; Half the poem, he declared, had nothing in it that 

The Production of "Cato" 79 

was peculiar to the Forest; the objects were for 
the most part trifling, such as hunting, fishing, etc., 
and the author was " obscure, ambiguous, affected, 
temerarious, and barbarous." 

Having agreed to furnish the Prologue to Cato, 
Pope was allowed to read the tragedy in manuscript! 
" It drew tears from me in several parts of the fourth 
and fifth acts," he told Caryll, "where the beauty of 
virtue appears so charming that I believe, if it comes 
upon the theatre, we shall enjoy that which Plato - 
thought the greatest pleasure an exalted soul could 
be capable of a view of virtue itself drest in person, 
colour, and action. The emotion which the mind 
will feel from this character, and the sentiments of 
humanity which the distress of such a person as Cato 
will stir up in us, must necessarily fill an audience 
with so glorious a disposition and sovereign a love 
of virtue that I question if any play has ever con- 
duced so immediately to morals as this." 

This account of the play is curiously inconsistent 
with Pope's report (to Spence) of a conversation he 
had with the author. Addison, he says, asked him 
for his candid opinion of the piece, and, after study- 
ing it for three or four days, "I gave him my 
sincere opinion, which was, that I thought he had 
better not act it, and that he would get reputation' 
enough by only printing it. This I said, as thinking 
the lines well written, but the piece not theatrical 
enough." Addison does not appear to have resented 
this advice, though, fortunately for himself, he 
neglected to follow it He explained that some 
intimate friends, whom he -could not disoblige, had 
insisted on its being performed He was ready, 

: 8o Mr. Pope 

however, to alter anything that might seem amiss, 
land Pope declared, "I believe he did not leave a 
: single word unchanged that I made any scruple 
' against." ' ' 

! .The tragedy was produced on April 13, and Pope 

has left a vivid account of its reception, from which 

it appears that he had no desire to belittle his friend's 


" Cato was not so much the wonder of Rome in 

his days," he wrote to Caryll, <5as he is of Britain in 
, ours, and, though all the foolish industry possible 

has been used to make it a party play, yet what 

the author once said of another may be the most 
; properly in the world applied to him on this 
I occasion : 

; Envy itself is dumb, in wonder lost, 

And factions strive who shall applaud him most. 1 

i. "The numerous and violent claps of the Whig 
party on the one side the theatre were 'echoed back 
by the Tories on the other, while the author sweated 
behind the scenes with concern to find their applause 
proceeded more from the hand than from the head. 
This was the case, too, of the Prologue-writer, who 
was clapped into a staunch Whig, sore against his 
will, at almost every two lines. I believe you have 
heard that, after all the applause of the opposite 
faction, my Lord Bolingbroke sent for Booth, who 
played Cato, into the box, between one of the acts, 
and presented him with fifty guineas, in acknowledg- 
ment, a's he expressed it, for his defending the cause 
of liberty so well against a perpetual dictator. The 
1 From " The Campaign.' 1 

. Tlle Production of Cato " 8 i 


ery speedily \ n 7f ^'^ tO *" 


-n , 

- Garth cx e 7 r 1S - Pr0baWe that Cato, as 

after iu die" ' ^ miVC SOmtthi ^ to live 

"' " '-Smonts ,, M ,,,, scri , 

, . 
,: 1 the MK - 

? p """'" ^ Mr - 

; f z st ' were hissed . 
,h, h ,.; of :f. ism ' j " 

I,, the "' s " '"" LOT J Hurley, 

y in tl, ', '"' K b ' 

' tk ' time of 



Articles In The Guardian '- The Narrative 
of Dr. Morris " 

|N the S(0 f I?! , ? a scncs (>f 

sir " t0ni . IOCtIT " "l'^ 1 - * newly 
tarred o,,i;v/ w . !n thc , ;c ^ 

federally attnbuted to Tickell, Ambrose l>J,i| ips . s 

1 ^>rak _ were highly pn.isc,!, while i'on,'s w,r c 

f^scd over m silence. The writer went so L.r .,;,> 

v that there had been ,,,,ly four masters >f 'tlu- 

pastond art in two thousan.l years,.-" Th.ocrHu," 
^'> Ic t ius dominions , V,r,,! ; Vi.y.i, who Id,' 
l^toh.s sua Spenser ; am | Spenser, !> W .,n ,,,." 

, , 

txJogucs, tnsix,u! of the pods ami ,oJdc-SM"; !ir ,' 
creed outworn. 

( _ I'opc, whose natuni! vanity ha, I !<- ,,,,,. |, v 

^is curly success, ,-ev,,.-, ( ,i himself,.,, t -l,., r . 1( .u,'i. !( ;;.,on, or the contnnptuou.s ,,;!,,:( with wind, hi, 
--n work had been rreatcd. I !e sent .,n ,u,on v,n, H,' 

//!f <'<<*>>', in whiJ, he eah ont 
ro,cal pra,sc to Philips and in,,,,V,l Name to him- 

in "The 83 

self. It is commonly supposed that did not 

trouble himself to read the paper, or else that he 
glanced through it hurriedly without perceiving its 
drift. It is possible, however, that he saw the joke, 
and was prepared to enjoy it. 1 Be that as it may* 
the article was printed, and seems to have deceived 
many of the elect, though not the victim of the 
sarcasm. It must be confessed that Pope conducted 
his at tuck in a most unsportsmanlike style, picking 
out some of JPhilips's worst lines as average specimens 
of his style, and ridiculing him for errors of taste 
which he -Pope had also committed.- The whole 
paper is permeated with indirect praise of his own 
" Pastorals/* conveyed in terms of blame which re- 
cnj!n ' 11 }lis mvn !lca(! for the condemnation was 
taken literally by matter-of-fact rentiers. 

Pope alludes to himself as " that gentleman whose 
ch;sr ' lctcr t is that lie takes the greatest care of his 
ks before they are published, and has the least 
m lor them afterwards." Mr. Pope, he ex- 
-d, bad fallen into the same error as Virgil, for 
his downs did not converse in ail the simplicity 
proper to the country. r I ie introduces Alexis and 
>''-sis on British plains, as Virgil had done before 
is the Mantuan ; whereas Philips, who hath the ' 
"cgard to propriety, makes choice of names 


nirn o_. 


* snM that Sickle showed the article to Pope, declaring that, 
kl flt;Vf ' r * m!)ii:ih <"W P J P'- r which one member of thr 
as c'umplmi.:!,^! at the expense of anolhe*. Pope, pro- 

l' b<j in,iK!ia!Hi ir)ii:,|y iiitliffcreot to the blame, insisted that 
^r shcnil.i h t; publish-d. 
or e\'atn|Ic s male!!',- spring' and autumn ilowers bloom at the 

Sa>ise t<nl|k imrwlt ^n- aiiimuU that 


and writm^; 

imitations of die ancients. 

were not native la England, 

:% Pope 

peculiar to the country mch as Hobbmol, l-obbin, 

Cuddy and Colin Clout/' 

Alter comparing some: of Philips'* lines with his* 
owrs rcill ^n^ of similar subjects/ the satirist con- 
clujcs / u After all that hath been said, 1 hope none 
can think lt a!J injustice to Mr. Pope that 1 foreborc 
to incn <-ion him as a pastoral writer, since, upon the 
who ^% lllr is 0<: *"he same class with IVWIms and 
!i:ot! > whoni we have excluded that rank ; and of 
v/ ; los - ^l^gues, as well as :M)i?se.of ViryiTs, it may be 
SVi ; d / h:ir (^-cording to the desenptfott we liave ;n'ven 
01 this sort of poetry) they are by no means pastorals, 
but sotnethitig belter/* 

i ' rhcrc is :i tnulition that Philips,, having seen 
thrr>u}h the irony of the paper on pastoral poetry, 
htmir up a rod at Button's, ;md rhreatencd to use 'it 
011 hls Wlow-Arcndian, shcmii! he ever show his face 
tl^Te aoam. Cihbci, in his u Letter to Mr. Popr/' 
P lll lis '^^ thirty years Jafcr, aHmles to this incident 
:uhi to the conduct that had provoked it. u When 
you used to {lass your hours at Hu ton's/' he re- 
tnnu ' s t - lc ! 10 ^, " 4 you wes-e even there mn.irk.ihle 
for your satirical itch of provocation. Neasee was 
there a tfcntlcimm of any pretension Co wit whom 

'Hm ahfeirurc is , 10 t 
iMp:, h ili<:phecl:; .sin^s : 

Nit* i'/rnni- Drlia hfi-kuiis ffrm flu; pl.iin^ 
Thru, hi.l in .,h.utr,, fl.uU-, hrr rapci .stviiin.s ; 
iiut Iris'ur, a Lsui'J, f ( :H 'C im- -rar<'h uiound, 

Ami b)' !ft;l lauj'ji ihc \villiin fat! is f<ai!, 

in '85 

your unguarded temper had not fallen upon in 
biting epigram ; amongst which you once caught a 
pastorul Tartar, whose resentment, that your punish* 
merit might !>c proportioned to the smart of your 
poetry, had stuck up a birchen rod in the room, to he 
ready whenever you might come within reach of it ; 
and sit this rate you writ and rallied and writ on, 
till you rhymed yourself quite out of the coffee- 

Another paper, contributed by Pope to "The 
CiKinlhtn (Muy 21, 1713), was on a less contentious 
subject, namely, the treatment of animals. In those 
days the crime of Cruelty to animals could hardly be 
s:iu * to exi ^ since no suffering that man thought fit 
to inflict on the dumb beasts that had been created 
fi ; r his mv!l use-~or abuse was considered cruel 
The average reader, therefore, must have found some- 
thmcrslartlinLfly heterodox. in the remark ; U I cannot 
thillk il extravagant to imagine that mankind are no 
Jess, in proportion, accountable fur their ill-use over 
creatures of the lower rank of being than for the 
c:<cro ^ of their tyranny over thcirovvn species/' 
Montaigne had said that few people take delight: 
' seeing beasts caress or play together, but almost 
every one is pleased to see them lacerate and worry 
onc iui <>tl<-*r. 4< I am sorry," comments Pope, tc that 
this temper is become almost a distinguishing char- 
acter of our own nation, from the ol)scrv;itioiithat is 
^de by foreigners of our beloved pastimes bcar- 
'wiung, cock-fighting, and the like." Even more 
i>arl>arous than our sports, however, was our gluttony, 
lobsters roasted alive, pigs whipped to death, 
fowls sewed up, were testimonies of the prevailing 

86 Mr* 

outrageous luxury- **' Those who divide their time 
betwixt an anxious conscience and a nauseated 

stomach have a just reward of their gluttony in the 

diseases it brings with it; for human savages, like . ' ! ' 
other wild beasts, find snares and poison ui the . i. " 

provisions of life, and are allured bv their appetite " ',; 

to their destruction, I know nothing more .shock- : 

in run! horrid than the prospect of one of their i \ 

kitchens covered with bloodj atul filled with cries f ; 

(if creatures expiring in tortures/* i 

. , \ 

We have seen how one 4i Popish trick " \vas [ 

ph'.ycd on a rival in the spring of (his year, and, only f 

a few months later another was perpetialed on a ;,; 

hostile critic. Dunns had puhlished some u Remarks < , 

on (^i!u" which, like most of Ins criticisms, consisted 

chiefly of virulent abuse. Pope, at once took "up ,'-, 

the cudgels, ostensibly on behalf of Addison, but ! ; 

actually on behalf of hinisrlf am! his u 1 \ssay on \ 

Criticism/* ! fc brought out .1 scurrilous pamphlet. j 

callcsl u l"!ic Narrative of I')r. Robert Norris concern- , 

ing the strange rind deplorable fren/.y of Mr. John ? 

Dennis, an ofTicer of liic C'u'Kom-housc*/' This ) 

atMc, k, like th<' majority of Pope's 1 prose satires, was ! 

as t!u!l as Dennis's criticisms, and a good deal dirh'-r. s 

!*opcj observes Macaulay, could dissect a character m \ 

terse, ^o!l^)rous couplets, brilliiint \vitJi imtithevisj but : 

of dramatic talent he was altogether destitute., "" If I 

!ir had, written a lampoon oil Dennis, such as that 
on Atficus, the old critic would have fn/en crushed ' 

fe^r ever. But Pope writing dialogue resembled 
to borrow .1 lorace's imagery and lus own-- a \voli 
\\hich, instead, of biting', should take to kicking, or a 
monkey which should try to stint 11 ,, '.('he Narrative 

/ o 

"The Narrative of Dr. Norrls >f> 8 7 
is utterly -contemptible. Of argument there is not 
even the show ; and the jests are such as, if they 
were introduced into a farce, would call forth tne . 
hisses of the shilling gallery." . . 

Morris was a well-known quack physician, and in 
' the Narrative tin old woman conies to the doctor's 
house to call him to her muster, Mr. Dennis, who is 
nvino aloud, and muttering the word Cator, or Uto. 
Now, doctor," says the messenger, this Cato is 
certainly a witch, and my master is under an evil 
tongue,' tor I have heard him say that Cato has 
bewitched the whole nation." 

Norris goes to Dennis's lodgings, and finds him 
; n " it ni om"hung with old tapestry, which had several 
holes in it, caused by his having cut out of it the 
he-ids of divers tyrants, the fierceness ot whose 
visa-es hud much provoked him. 1 " On all s,des ot 
his "mom," relates Norris, " were pinned a great 
n;mv sheets of a tragedy called Cato, with notes on 
th, marrnn in his own hand. The words 'absurd, 
'monstrous,' 'execrable,' were everywhere written HI 
such large characters that I could read them without 
my spectacles." 

'],intot and a grave, middle-aged gentleman (pro- 
bably intended for Cromwell) are sitting by the 
paint's bedside, and, after Dennis has raved against 
Cato, declaring that he is sick of the sentiments, of 
the diction, of the protasis, of the cpitusis, and the 
catastrophe, Lintot gives the following account, of 
' A,, .,]tu,i.m to the lines on Appius in "The liss'ty on 

CritiuMn " : 

V,tit A|i()ius rca.lcns al each won! you speak, 
Ami .-,lwi'->. tn.-ini:iuli)iis with a ihreut'ning eye, 
Like sonic fierce tyrant in old lupcstry. 

88 Mr, Pope 

the fashion in which ths critic was first attacked by 
his malady ; 

u Hut on the fyth cf May, 1711, between the 
h'ursof ten and eleven In the mornim*, Mr. John 
Dennis enured his shop, and, opening one of the 
volumes of Tht Spectator in large paper, did suddenly, 
Without the least provocation, fear out that of Mo, 
[40], where the author treats of poetical justice,' and 
cist it into the street. That the said Mr. John 
Dennis, on the 27th of March, r/fit, finding 'on the 
said, Mr* Lintot's counter a book called an 4 Ks:viy 
on Criticism/ just then published* he read a paoe or 
two with much frowning, till, coming to the-;.e lines: 

Some have at first for wits, ilu-n |H-|S p;s^<'<l, 
Turned critics next, and prounl plaiss f*h!', at la^i, 

he flung down the hook in a terrililc fury, and cried, 
* By (iod^ he means me ! ' >v 

But the render will probably have had enough, 
though only the more u polite *' parts of the satire 
have been quoted. It was small wonder that 
Add-on repudiated any share in the Nairative. lie 
catt^ccJ Steele " to write the following dignified rrbukc 
to Lintot, wlio had [niblish<'d the pamphlet : 

u Mr. Addison desired me to (ell you he wholly 
dsapproves the manner of treating Mr, Dennis in 
a little p;uii|)!i1ct by way of Dr. Morris's account. 

1 In Vr, rntiriU p,inip}i!rts Omui^ Iiud inihls-Ju;*! hi-* .uf!i-iftn- 

!n ft." fhtMity nf u pm*t u al !usticc, H vvlin li w.i 1 - nii iiln! i //?,' 

1 ,\h, Dilke h;kl tlie fhr?ry thaf Slrrlr, Isnii^-lf wiolr the 1 

N'aiMflVr*, f'opf; (icnit'U tll' ,iUt i)Ol hbl |> tO C,Ji'yi! f liill j,u- !l 

i!<-nuls \v*re only a figure of :,j>o t - f is, Dennis h,u! no dottbt that 
<Ji': lanipnoti was by Pope^ uiu! H stu>nj.;ly itNeiublrs hir> uflirr 
jirox* sat IRS. 

The Club 9 

When he thinks fit to take notice of Mr. Dennis's 
objections to 'his writings, he will do it in a way 
Mr Dennis shall have no just reason to complain of ; 
l)ti t when the papers above mentioned were oflcred to 
lie communicated to him, he said he could not, either 
in honour or conscience, be privy to such a treatment, 
and was sorry to hear ot it.*' 

By this time Pope, having made Button's too hot 
to hold him, was eager to form, a rival literary club, 
in which there should be no Cato to " give his little 
senate laws. 1 * The atmosphere of Button's was 
probably too Whiggish to please the wits C3f the 
opposite camp, now that party 'feeling was running 
high. The Scriblerus Club was started in the course 
of this year, its chief supporters being Swift, Pope, 
Arbuthnot, 1 and Cay, while the members numbered 
such distinguished names as Congreve, Atterbury, 
und Parnell, a Even the Lord Treasurer would some- 
times steal away from the cares of State to join the 
meetinirs of the Scrihlerus, where he played the part 
of a lord among wits, a role which suited him much 
better than that of a wit among lords. 

The Scriblerus docs not appear to have developed 

1 Dr. John Arbuthnol (1667-1735), the witty Scotchman who 

was appointed Physician Extraordinary to Queen Anne in 1705, 
He wrou* tiic " f libtory of John Bull," "The Art of Political I ymx," 
and othei I'-kifx lit: took little pains to preserve his writings, but 
allowed hui children to make kites of his papers. Swift s,.ud, 
*' The doctor lias more humanity than we all hav*.^ and his 
humanity is equal to his wit." 

a Thomas Pitmell, the Imh poet (1.679-1718), lie contributed 
some papeis to The .S'/Vt'/Vf/v/ and 7//t* (.iuartiinn* llib be-t-knowu 
pot:uif' iti e ** The Ilc.ntitt" and i4 The Fairy Tale," lie was a 
minor Camm of Dublin Cathedral, and became Vicar of i'inylas 
in 17 16. 


or party club on the usual lines, 
with a local habitation and regular meetings. It 
was rrither a society of lirerary men, nil intimate 
in ends, who met informally to discuss projects for 
skits and jsttx cf esprit which were to bring confusion 
upon thdr natural enemies hack-writers ami hostile 
critics. /\ grand scheme was planned for ;i compre- 
hensive satire in prose upon "lollies and abides in 
every branch of science,, comprised in the history 
o! the hie and writings of" Mart in us Scnblenis, 
\\hich was to he undertaken by Swift, Poj(% and 
Arfn.iihp.otj with assistance from other members. 
The club broke up, however, or was dispersal, 
I'.U'isd the invitations aiul excitements of the ye, if 17*^, 
\* hen Tory societies were regarded with a fust 
suspicion. The yreat. schemes ended \n sojnc 
brilliant fragments, a scrap-heap of wit which con- 
tained the ;j;erms of at least two immortal works - 
"'("lulliver's Tnivcls " and u The Dunciad." J 

Poj^e s|Htiit the summer, as usual, betueen I5i\fie!d 
and .London. While 'in town he studied painting 1 
with jcrvas \t\ the noniints> and s[K:nf the evenings 
in the ccjnvcrsatiofi of smh friends as he. though-! most. 
liVciy to imj'irove his mind, in'^^prctivc of party 
or denomination. In *i r. it her T'nttuJiBHjucii! a; count 
ot lii'> coilec-hoiise soc l ety> evidently nit<:ndcd tt> 
iifSjM'c-ss the "country wits" of Caryl^'"' he '>ays ; 

u This minute, |erhaps, ! am atve the s!.ir:>> 

s 'ili-', i(! i ,i for I\)|r' l i <!';..*, in, /'/%" <///^/ V///,'/ /*>///////, w,i- 

pjoba!<ty ' ' (','/< S<Cil i>y ^ ptopo^rd Si t it>lrri|; S.silic^ u!i!li W is 
to lc*.;t t;f the * 4 \Voiks i'f llu: U ulcann.**! '' \ti icrtiib cit iiuinta! 

I|KUV " 

2 In the cHiiion oi tlu" ^'orrcbpomitnifc pui)li.s)ic< 

letter is addressed to AiUlibOn. 

Progress in Painting 9 1 

with a thousand systems round about me, looking 
forward into the vast abyss of eternity, and losing 
my whole comprehension in the boundless spaces 
of the extended creation, in dialogues with Whiston 
and the astronomers ; the next moment I am below 
all trifles, even grovelling with TQdcombe] 1 in the 
very centre of nonsense. Now am 1 recreating my 
mind with the brisk sallies and quick turns of wit. 
which Mr. Steele, in his liveliest and freest humours, 
darts about him ; and now levelling apprehension to 
the insignificant observations and quirks of grammar 
of Mr. C[romwell] and D[ennis]." 

His study of painting, however unsuccessful may 
have been the results, was teaching him discoveries 
that hitherto had been imperceptible to him. Every 
corner of an eye, or turn of an ear, the smallest 
degree of light or shade in cheek or a dimple, now 
had powers to distract him. Every day, he com- 
plained to Gay, the performances of others appeared 
more excellent and his own more despicable. 

"I have thrown away three Dr. Swifts, each of 
whom was once my vanity, two Lady Bridgewaters, 
a Duchess of Montagu, besides half-a-dozen earls 
and one knight of the garter. I have crucified Christ 
over again in effigy, and made a Madonna as old as 
her mother, St. Anne. Nay, what is more miraculous, 

i Tidcombe was a friend of Cromwell, a frequenter of Will's, and 
apparently a butt of the wits. Pope often alludes to him, always 
in a tone of friendly contempt. In one letter to Cromwell, he 
says " I would as soon write like Durfey as live like Tidcombe, 
whose beastly, laughable life is at once nasty and diverting.'' 
For a time Tidcombe seems to have been expelled from Will s, but 
later was restored, to the great joy of Cromwell, " who was at a 
great loss for a person to converse with upon the Fathers and 
church history." 

9 2 Mr. Pope 

I have rivalled St. Luke himself in painting, and, 
as it is said an angel came and finished his piece, 
so you would swear a devil put the last hand to 
mine, it is so begrimed and smutted. However, 
I comfort myself with a Christian reflection that I 
have not broken the commandment, for my pictures 
are not the likeness of anything in heaven above, 
or in the earth below, or in the waters under the 
earth. Neither will anybody adore or worship them, 
except the Indians should have a sight of them, who, 
they tell us, worship certain pagods or idols purely 
for their ugliness. 1 * 



:j Proposals for the Translation of the " Iliad * 

TTHE study of painting was the ostensible, but 
A not the actual, purpose of Pope's frequent visits 
to London during the summer of 1713. He was 
preparing the ground for an important undertaking 
which, he hoped, would reward him with both fame 
and fortune. Though his works had already 
brought him a great reputation, he had earned very 
little hard cash. From Lintot's account-book it ap- 
pears that Pope had received 32 5 s. for "Windsor 
forest," 7 for the first version of "The Rape of 
the Lock," 16 is. 6d. for translations from Statius, 
and ^3 i6s. 6J. for the three pieces in Lintot's 
" Miscellany." How much he received for the 
'^Pastorals " or for the first edition of the " Essay on 
Criticism " is not known, but for a new edition of 
the Essay which was published in 1716, when his 
reputation was established, Lintot only paid ^15. 
If Pope had ever seriously thought of earning a 
living by his brush, he was now convinced of the 
impracticability of that plan. Though he could 
depend on free quarters at Binfield, he needed an 
independent income such as would enable him to 
buy books, to move about freely, and to hold his 



94 Mr. Pope 

own among his friends in town. Moreover, his 
state of health rendered it necessary that he should 
keep a horse, have medical attendance, and pay 
occasional visits to the Bath. 

.The young man had already proved that it was 
impossible to live by writing original poetry, and he 
probably realised that, apart from " the Rape of the 
Lock," his best work was to be found in his imitations 
and translations. As early as 1708 Sir William 
Trumbull, after reading Pope's version of the 
episode of Sarpedon, had urged him to proceed 
in translating Homer, " to make him speak good 
English, to dress his admirable characters in 'your 
proper significant and expressive conception, and to 
make his works as useful and instructive to this 
degenerate age as he was to our friend Horace/' 

At this time the translations of the classics were 
regarded as safer and more profitable speculations 
by the booksellers than original poetry, and now 
that Chapman's version of Homer was considered 
uncouth and barbarous, while the renderings of 
Hobbes 1 and Ogilby 2 were found dull and prosaic, 
there seemed a good opening for a new translation 
of the " Iliad." During the months that Pope spent 
in London he was doubtless feeling the pulse of the 
patrons, the public, and the booksellers. He had 
now made a number of powerful friends in the 
Ministerial party, and as long as an author could 

1 The philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, finished his translation of 
Homer about 1674, when he was eighty-six years of age. 

John Ogilby (1600-1676) began life as a dancing-master He 
was afterwards Master of the Revels in Ireland. Later he set 
up a printing press in London, and published his verse-translation 
of Homer in about 1660. 

Proposals for Translation of the '" Iliad "' 95 

depend on influential support, publication by sub- 
scription was held to be the best means of obtaining 
large profits. Pope adopted this method, and his 
proposals for a. new translation of the " Iliad," with 
introduction, notes, and maps, issued in October, 
1713, met with a ready response. Tonsonhad made 
an offer for the work, but he had been outbid by 
Bernard Lintot, who agreed to pay 200 for each 
volume and to supply sets to subscribers free of 
charge. As there were six volumes at a guinea 
each, and as the poet was able to secure nearly six 
hundred subscribers, many of whom took several 
sets, it will be understood that his profits amounted 
to a very considerable sum ! l Pope was not . a 
Greek scholar, nor did he possess the special critical 
learning that nowadays would be considered 
essential to any man who proposed to translate and 
,n t v annotate Homer. But in the easy-going days of 
Queen Anne ignorance of Greek was not regarded 
as any serious impediment to the carrying out of such 
a gigantic task. There were accurate translations 
of the " Iliad " in Latin, French and English which 
could be consulted for the " sense," notes could 
be borrowed, with, or without acknowledgment 
from dry-as-dust commentators, ' and some sound 
" Grecian " could be found to supply the Intro- ! 
duction. Few persons ventured to doubt that 
Homer, like Isaiah, would appear " to advantage 
dressed" in the flowing robes of Pope's heroic verse. 

The poet's friends canvassed industriously for \ 
subscriptions. It could not have been easy to 

1 It is reckoned that he cleared from the " Iliad n alone between 
5,000 and ,6,000. But he spent six years on the work. 

9 6 Mr. Pope 

persuade people, who knew nothing of the author, 
to invest in a six-guinea translation of the " Iliad," 
but Caryll obtained no fewer than thirty-eight sub- 
scribers, and Swift used his then almost .unbounded 
influence with his own party. Bishop Kennet l notes 
in his Diary for November 2, 1713 : 

" Dr. Swift came into the coffee-house and had a 
bow from everybody but me, who, I confess, could 
not but despise him. When I came into the anti- 
chamber to wait, before prayers* Dr. Swift was the 
principal man of talk and business, and acted as 
master of requests. Then he instructed a young 
; nobleman that the best poet in England was Mr. Pope 
(a Papist), who had begun a translation of Homer 
into English verse, for which he must have them all 
subscribe ; for, says he, the author shall not begin to 
print till I have a thousand guineas for him." 

In October Lord Lansdowne wrote to assure 
Pope of his satisfaction at the proposed design of 
translating Homer. " The trials which you have 
already made and published on some parts of that 
author," he remarks, " have shown that you are 
equal to so great a task ; and you may therefore 
depend on the utmost services I can do you in 
promoting that work,, or anything that may be for 
your service." " Granville the polite " could scarcely 
say less after the extravagant compliments that had 
been paid him in <( Windsor Forest." 

1 White Kennet (1660-1728). At this time he was Chaplain-in- 

Ordinary to the Queen, and Dean of Peterborough. Later he 

was made Bishop of Peterborough. He published a " Complete 

j History of England, 1 ' and was one of the original members of 


Proposals for Translation of the * Iliad'* 97 
Addison, too, if we may accept as more or less 
genuine the letters published under his name in 
Pope's correspondence, 1 expressed his willingness to 
help with the canvassing, 9 and adds: "As I have 
an ambition of having it known you are my friend, 
I shall be very proud of showing it by this, or any 
other instance. I question not that your translation ' 
will enrich our tongue, and do honour to our 
country. ... This work would cost you a great 
deal of time, and, unless you undertake it, will, I 
am afraid, never be executed by any other ; at least 
I know none of this age that is equal to it besides 
yourself." Pope may have,_been alluding to this, or 
some other letter in the same cordial vein, when he 
states in the Preface to the " Iliad s ' that Mr. Addison 
was the first whose advice determined me to under- 
take the task, who was pleased to write to me on 
that occasion in such terms as I cannot repeat with- 
out vanity." 

It was natural that at this juncture Pope should 
be exceedingly anxious to 'stand well with the re- 
presentatives of all shades of opinion, both religious 
and political, since to offend any one clan or sect 
involved the loss of possible subscribers. He had 
been Concerned at finding that his Catholic friends, 
from whom he looked for the staunchest support, 
were offended by his praise of Erasmus and his 
condemnation of the monks in the " Essay on Criti- 
cism." < As to my writings," he observes, I 

* The letters printed as from Addison to Pope may possibly 

emJr ^"""V^ ""' """ pHnted SS fr m ?P e to Addisol 
e made up out of letters to Caryll. 

1 Pope said that Addison never got him a single subscriber 
VOL. I ' 

9 g Mr. Pope 

pray to God they may never have other enemies 
than those they have yet met with which are first, 
pnests ; secondly, women, who are the fools of 
pnests ; and thirdly, beaux and fops, who are the 
fcols of women." 

The difficulty of running with the hare and 
hunting with the hounds is exemplified by the fact 
that. Pope got into trouble with some of his Tory 
friends for writing articles in the Whig Guardian. 
^An honest Jacobite," he says, in another place, 
" jspoke to me the sense, or nonsense, of the 
weak part of his party very fairly that the good 
people took it ill of me that I writ with Steele, 
though upon never so indifferent subjects; This I 
know you will laugh at, as well as I do. Yet I 
doubt not many little calumniators and persons of 
sour dispositions will take occasion hence to be- 
spatter me. I confess I scorn narrow souls of all 
parties; and if I renounce my reason in religious 
matters, I will hardly do it in any other:" 

In December Pope was back at Binfield, hard at 
work upon his enlarged version of "The Rape of the 
Lock," which he desired to finish before he began his 
translation That the task he had undertaken was 
an Homeric one in every sense, he was soon to 
realise, and he confesses that he trembled at the 
thought of it. A disappointment in the subscription 
would not, he declared, cause him any great mortifi- 
cation, considering how much of life he was to 
sacrifice if it succeeded. Long afterwards he told 
Spence that "In the beginning of my translating the 
'Iliad,' I wished anybody would hang me a hundred 
times. It sat so heavily on my mind at first that I 

Proposals -for Translation of the "Iliad * 99 

often used to dream of it, and do sometimes still.. 
When I fell into the method of translating thirty or 
forty verses before I got up, and piddled with it the 
.rest of the morning, it went on easy enough ; and 
when 1 was thoroughly got into the way of it I did 
the rest with pleasure." 

In the spring of 1713 Swift had at last received 
promotion from his ministerial friends, though not 
of the kind his soul craved. The Deanery of St. 
Patrick seemed a poor return for services that the 
| fattest bishopric in England would hardly have 
rj. repaid. He had gone over to Dublin to be in- 
stituted in the summer, but was soon recalled in 
the hope that he might keep the peace between 
" the Dragon " and the -Captain," as Oxford and 
j Bolingbroke were nicknamed. The first published | 

letter from Pope to Swift is dated from Binfield, 
December 8, 1713, and is chiefly remarkable for 
the " painful " quality of its wit. The poet begins 
by alluding to Swift's jesting proposal to give him 
twenty guineas to change his religion. He professes 
to think that it would be better worth his while 
to propose a change of faith by subscription than 
a translation of Homer, and adds, " If you can 
move every man in the Government who has above ' 
ten thousand pounds a year to subscribe as much as 
yourself I shall become a convert, as most men do 
when the Lord turns it to their interest." 

There is one article, however, he must reserve, 
namely, prayers for the dead, and this will be an 
expensive item, since the souls he is most concerned 
for are those of poets, painters, or heretics. For 
example, there is Mr. Jervas, who has grievously 



& ". 

offended in making the likeness of almost all things 
in heaven above and the earth beneath; and Mr. 
Gay, an unhappy youth who writes pastorals 1 
during, the time of divine service, and whose case 
is the more 'deplorable as he has miserably lavished 
away all the silver he should have reserved for 
his soul's health in buttons and loops for his coat. 
And lastly, there is Dr. Swift, a clergyman who, 
by his own confession, has composed more libels 
than sermons. If too much wit is dangerous to 
salvation, he must certainly be damned to all eternity ; 
but it is to be hoped that his frequent conversations 
with great men will cause him to have less and 
less wit everyday! In conclusion, Pope confesses 
his many obligations to the dean, who "has brought 
me into better company than I cared for,. mad,e me 
merrier when I was sick than I had a mind to be, 
and put me upon making poems on purpose that he 
might correct them." 

1 " The Shepherds' Week," which was intended as a burlesque of 
Philips's " Pastorals." 


"The Rape of the Lock" 

THE completed version of u The Rape of theLock," 
an " Heroi-comical " poem in five cantos, with 
the Rosicrucian " machinery, 1 ' was published on 
March 2, 1714. Pope, aware that Miss Fermor 
had been annoyed by the publication of the original 
sketch, wrote a flattering dedication to the offended 
beauty. " I believe/ 1 he remarks, u I have managed 
the dedication so nicely that it can neither hurt 
the lady nor the author. I writ it very lately, 
and upon great deliberation. The young lady 
approves of it, and the best advice in the kingdom 
of men of sense has been made use of in it, even 
to the Treasurer's. . . . Not but that, after all, 
fools will talk, and fools will hear them." 

In the dedication it is explained that this piece 
was intended only to divert ic a few young ladies, 
who have good sense and good humour enough to 
laugh, not only at their sex's little unguarded follies, 
but at their own. But as it was communicated 
with the air of a secret, it soon found its way into 
the world. An imperfect copy having been offered 
to a bookseller, you had the good nature, for my 



Mr. Pope 

are made to act in a poem 

and od? f a / dCtCrmined t0 raise * 
spirits H Undatl n \ the R sicrUcian Doctrine of 
usl of h , ' S aWa ; e u W disa S reeabl * ^ is to make 
us, of hard words before a lady, and he must 
take leave to explain two or three difficult terms.' 
The IWruaans are a people I must brinff 
a Iknow 

Cal I ' u 

Gabahs which both in its title and size is so- like 

orTV T 7 f ^ ^ SCX h ve read i 

th fou^I miSt e ' ACC rdine t0 theSC g entleme "' 
all ^ n r , elementsare Habited by spirits which th^ 
call sylphs, gnomes, nymphs, and. salamanders. The 
gnomes, or demons of earth, delight in mischief; 
but th e sy]phs whose habitation is in the air, are 
the best.condit.oned creatures imaginable. For they 
say , an y mortal may enjoy the most '^ 
farmhands w-th these gentle spirits upon a condkbn 
very easy to, all true adepts, an inviolable prese va- 
toon of chastity. As to the following 'cantoi all the 
passages of them are as fabulous L the vision at 
the beginning, or the transformation at the end, 

is evid -tly quite un- 



"nt'r*H inn 1 t / n r ^ ^_ 

"M'''ii;; i*y t . 1)11 iJA<;r .'iHcr ,1 Datntini' 1 1 

From the ond edition of the poem, , 7M . 


44 The Rape of the. Lock* 103 

except the loss of your hair, which I always 
mention with reverence. The human personages 
are as fictitious as the airy ones, and the character 
of Belinda, as "it is now managed, resembles you in i 
nothing but beauty." 

The first scene is laid in the bedroom of Belinda, 
who at midday " still her downy pillow pressed/* 
A morning dream brings her a vision of a youth 
who whispers in her ear an account of the un- 
numbered spirits that surround her, the sylphs, 
salamanders, gnomes, and all the "light militia of 
the lower sky." The duty of the sylphs is to guard 
the purity of melting maids, and to expel old 
impertinence by new. For example : 

What tender maid but must a victim fall 

To one man's treat but for another's ball? 

When Florio speaks what virgin could withstand, ^ /, 

If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand ? 

With varying vanities from every part, 

They shift the moving toyshop of their heart ; 

Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive, 

Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive. * 

The dream-youth reveals himself as Ariel, who 
acts as Belinda's special guardian, and he comes to 
warn her of some dread event, which is then im- 
pending. She is to beware of 'all, but most beware 
of man. At this point Belinda is wakened from 
her dream by Shock, her lap-dog, and. the rites of 
the toilette begin the serious business of her day. 
Her attendant, Mistress Betty, assisted by the in- 
visible sylphs, arranges her altar, the dressing-table, ' 
where the various offerings of the world appear, 
and decks the goddess with the glittering spoil, 

It; J 

'04 Mr*. Pope 

This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, 

And all Arabia breathes from yonder box. 

The tortoise here and elephant unite, 
. Transformed to combs, the speckled -and the white. 

Here files of pins extend their shining rows, 
, * Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billets-doux. 

Now awful beauty puts on all its arms ; 

The fair each moment rises in her charms, 
. 'Repairs her smiles, 1 awakens every grace, 
And calls forth all the wonders of her face. 

In Canto II. we find Belinda " launched on the 
silver bosom of the Thames "in plain prose, she 
has set forth upon a water-party to Hampton Court. 
Though she is surrounded by fair nymphs and 
well-dressed youths, every eye is fixed on her alone. 

Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike, 
And, like the sun, they shine on all alike. 
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride, 
Might hide her faults, if belies had faults to hide. 
If to her share some female errors fall, 
Look on her face and you'll forget them all. 

Chief among her attractions were two locks which 
hung on her ivory neck in equal curls. The poet, 
moralising on the irresistible power of these "slender 
chains/ 1 points out that- 
With hairy springes we the birds betray, 
Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey,* 
Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare, 
And beauty draws us with a single hair. s 

1 "Repairs her smiles" is not a happy expression. It suggests 
an artificial and immovable grimace. 

a Pope had an insurmountable objection to the word "fish.* 1 
The "finny prey" is no improvement on the "scaly breed" of 
"Windsor Forest" 

1 This admired line is imitated from Dryden's " Persius" : 
She knows her man, and when you rant and swear, 
Can draw you to her with a single hair. 

"The Rape of the Lock" 105 

The baron saw, admired, and coveted the locks, 
and resolved to possess one by force or fraud. The 
guardian sylph, " with careful thoughts oppressed," 
rallies round him his forces, and a delightful descrip- 
tion follows of the- "lucid squadrons of the air/' sylphs, 
sylphids, fays, fairies, elves, and genii. 1 Ariel informs 
his followers that black omens threaten the fairest of 
the fair. Some dire disaster is about to befall her, 
though what or where the Fates had wrapped in night. 

Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law, 

Or some frail china jar receive a flaw ; 

Or stain her honour or her new brocade ; 

Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade ; 

Or lose her- heart or necklace at a ball ; 

Or whether Heaven has doomed that Shock must fail. 2 

To each attendant sylph Ariel gives one special 
charge the fan to Zephyretta, the ear-drops to 
Brilliante, the watch to Momentilla, the favourite 
lock to Crispina, while he himself will be the guard 
of Shock. He concludes by addressing the following 
awful warning to any spirit who shall neglect his post or 
prove careless of his charge. The offending sylph 

Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins, 
Be stopped in phials, or transfixed with pins; 

1 Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight, 

Their fluid bodies half dissolved in light. 

Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, 

Thin, glittering textures of the filmy dew, 

Dipped in the richest tincture of the skies, 

Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes ; 

While every beam new transient colours flings, 

Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings. 
Taine remarks that if Miss Fcrmor had been a French woman 
she would have returned Pope his book and bade him learn 
manners. *' All his stock of phrases, is but a parade of gallantry 
which betrays indelicacy and coarseriess." 

i Io6 Mr. Pope 

; Or plunged in kkes of bitter washes lie, 

| Or wedged whole ages in a bodkin's eye j 

I Gums and pomatum shall his flight restrain 

; ; . While clogged he beats his silken wings in vain 
| Or alum styptics, with contracting power, 

; Shrink his thin essence like a rivelled flower : 
Or, as Ixion fixed, the wretch shall feel 
The giddy motion of the whirling mill, 
-In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow, 
And tremble at the sea that froths below! 

^ With Canto III. the party, arrives at Hampton 
Court, and several instructive hours are spent in 
; fashionable conversation. 

: One speaks the glory of the British Queen, 

| And one describes a charming Indian screen ; 

i A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes ; 

At every word a reputation dies. ' 

; Tired at length of gossip, Belinda burns to en- 
counter two adventurous knights, and "at -ombre 
singly to decide their doom/' The players assemble, 
the cards are dealt, and an elaborate description of 
the game follows.* This is the most dramatic 
episode m the poem, but it is too long for quotation. 
Moreover, it is difficult for the modern reader 
unfamiliar with the rules and terms of ombre, to 

1 The description of the picture-cards may be quoted ; 

Behold four kings, in majesty revered, 

With hoary whisker and a forky beard ; 

And four fair queens whose hands sustain a flower, 

1 n expressive emblem of their softer power ; 

Four knaves in garb succinct, a trusty band, 

Caps on their heads and halberts in their hand 

And parti-coloured hoops, a shining train, 

Draw forth to combat on the velvet plain.' 

The account of the game at ombre is evidently suited bv the 
game, at chess m Vida's poem, "Scacchia Ludus/ Y 


N I 

"The Rape of the Lock" 107 

follow the fortunes of the mimic warfare. Suffice 
it to j say that, when the game is trembling in the 
balance, and Belinda, pale as death, sees herself 
-"in the jaws of ruin and codille," her king of hearts 
takes that " one nice trick " upon which the general 
fate depends, and. wins her the game. Overjoyed 
at her victory 

The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky ; 
The walls, the woods, and long canals reply. 

Belinda's triumph was destined to be brief. 
Tea and coffee are brought in, and while the 
heroine unsuspectingly sips her Bohea, the fumes 
of the coffee fill the baron's brain with "new 
stratagems the radiant lock to gain." A faithless 
damsel, named Clarissa, draws a pair of scissors 
from her case, and hands them to the youth. 
Belinda perceives nothing, but the sylphs are on 
the alert. 

Swift to the lock a thousand jsprites repair, 

A thousand wings by turns blow back the hair, 

And thrice they twitched the diamond in her hair. 

But all their efforts are in vain, and the moment 
of the baron's triumph approaches. He spreads 
the glittering forfex " wideband the next instant 

The meeting points the sacred hair dissever 

From the fair head for ever and for ever ! 

Then flashed the living lightning from her eyes 

And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies. 

Not louder shrieks to pitying heav'n are cast 

When husbands or when lap-dogs breathe their last, . - 

Or when rich china vessels, fall'n from high, 

In glittering dust and painted fragments lie. 

At the opening of Canto IV. we find Belinda 

io8 Mr* Pope 

still mourning for her lost curl. Ariel has fled 
weeping, and Umbri'el, a dusky, melancholy sprite, 
repairs to the cave of Spleen, and begs the goddess 
to -"touch Belinda with chagrin." 1 - His request 
is granted, and, armed with a bag of sighs, sobs, 
passions, nd the war of tongues, as well as a phial 
of soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears, 
he returns to Hampton Court, where- 
Sunk in Thalcstris 1 arms the nymph he found, 
Her eyes dejected and her hair unbound. 
Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent, 
And all the Furies issued at the vent. 

Thalestris declaims bitterly against both the crime 
and the criminal, then seeks out Sir Plume and 
bids him go to the baron and demand the lock. 

Sir Plume, of amber snuff-box justly vain, 

And the nice conduct of a clouded cane, 

With earnest eyes and round, unthinking face, 

He first the snuff-box opened, then the case, 

And thus broke out : " My Lord ! why, what the devil ! 

Zounds ! damn die lock ! 'fore Gad, you must be civil. 

Plague on't ! 'tis past a jest nay, prithee, pox ! 

Give her- the hair- " he spoke, and rapped his box. 

The peer refuses to yield up his prize, and 
Belinda, drowned in tears, deplores her unhappy 
fate, and wishes that, instead of going to Hampton 
Court, she had stayed at home and said her prayers. 

In Canto V. Belinda is still surrounded by a 
sympathetic audience, to whom the grave Clarissa, 
a well-meaning friend, delivers a discourse on the 

1 Dennis objected, not altogether without reason, that Belinda 
was already touched with chagrin, and therefore there was no 
necessity to visit the cave of Spleen. 

""'' ......... -.. ......... ..,!.. ......... : 

* 1 ' '"""-'"-- 1 -"' 1 " ''"'. . lie i C m,, 7I 

"The Rape of the Lock" 109 

undue homage paid to mere beauty, and exalts 
the unfashionable virtues of good sense and good 
humour. 1 The address is ill received by the company, 
and the fiery Thalestris raises the cry "To arms ! " 
Then ensues an Homeric combat between the 
beaux and belles, while fans clap, silks rustle, and 
tough whale-bones crack : 

A beau and witling perished in the throng, 
One died in metaphor and one in song, 3 

Belinda tries conclusions with the Baron, and 
overcomes him with a pinch of snuff While he 
is temporarily incapacitated by a fit of sneezing 
she draws her deadly bodkin from her side He 
pleads for his life, but she will only grant it on 
condition that he restores the lock. Alas 

The lock obtained with guilt, but kept with pain 
In every place is sought, and sought in vain. 

* This . is * b ri'Uiant parody of the speech of Sarpedon to 
Glaucus m Homer. A few lines may be quoted :' 
Oh ! if to dance all night and dress all day 
Charmed the small-pox, or chased old age away 
Who would not scorn .what housewives' cares produce, 
Or who would learn one earthly thing of use ? 
L Q patch, nay ogle, might become a saint, 
Nor could it, sure, be such a sin to paint. 
But since, alas ! frail beauty must decay, 
Curled, or uncurled, since locks will turn to grey ; 
Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade, 
And she who scorns a man must die a maid ; 
What then remains but well our power to use, 
^ _ And keep good humour still, whate'er we lose? 

Dennis alludes to this couplet as a miserable pleasantry 
since here is a real combat and a metaphorical dyL p 
evidently had in his mind a line in Buckingham's^ E^say 

They sigh in simile and die in rhyme. 

110 Mr. Pope 

The Muse alone had followed its upward flight 
and. saw that, like ' ' 

A sudden star, it shot through liquid air, 
And drew behind a. radiant trail of hair. 
Not Berenice's locks first rose so bright, 
The heav'ns bespangling with dishevelled light; 

In times to come happy lovers would mistake 
the starry lock. for Venus, and, viewing it, that 
egregious -wizard, Partridge, would foredoom 
The fate of Louis and the fall of Rome. 

Belinda is adjured to cease mourning for the 
ravished curl, since, on the word of the poet 

Not all the tresses that fair head can boast, 
Shall draw such envy as the lock you lost. 
For, after all the murders of your eye, 
When, after millions slain, yourself shall die ; 
When those fair suns shall set, as set they must, 
And all those tresses shall be laid in dust, 
This lock the Muse shall consecrate to fame. 
And midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name! 

In "The Rape of the Lock " Pope had found 
himself." The manner of the poem was no doubt 
suggested by Tassoni's "Rape of the Bucket" 1 
and Boileau's "Lutrin," 2 while some hints were 
taken from Garth's "Dispensary," 3 but Pope had 

,K C War be ' Ween Modenaand Bologna 

thirteenth century was caused by the carrying off of a 
bucket. His poem was published in 1622 

" h a SqUabble between the '^surer 

T, Chape " e about the P osi ^ of a 

. The complete version was published in ,683. 
Garths "D.spensary," published in ^99, is written round a 
quarre between the CoUege of Physicians' and the Company 
the poor " Ver thC gratUit US dispensation, of Aug. to 

" The Rape of the Lock " r i x 

far surpassed his models. The piece is conceived 

while the 

> ' 

style is consistently 

y that the poet has given us^ and noneTther 
1, | d.stmgu.shed by such light-hearted gaiety and 

charm He moves among his characters with the 
polished ease of one who has learnt to dance " 
The truth is, that he had lighted upon a subject 
that gave fullest scope to the finest qualities of h s 
rnmd, wh.le it could not be seriously injured by 
the weaker poin ts of his character. "He was 

CSSP 11 1"15) 1 1 \r +\*\ "f VVrto 

He judged of beauty by fashion, "and^sought for 
truth m the opmions of the world." The artifici 
*% of his youthful style, which ruined h ^ 
of nature, was no flaw in a picture of fashionable 
Jite. His description of a lady's dressing-table is 
as superior to .his description of a county-scene 
as his witty parodies of the classics are superior 
to n,s serious imitations in the "Pastorals" 

The cntics, old and new, have been almost unani- 
Lock S>>m R " ng PraiSCS n " The Ra pe of the 



^j 4 

pomatum, tUk and patches. 

H' t great little You h 

to laugh or weep. It i s the 
ins-gmficancc, the apotheosis of f oppery 

ii2 Mr. Pope 

It would be idle to deny that there are faults in 
the poem, but to paraphrase Pope himself : 

If to his share some natural errors fall, 
Look on his style, and you'll forget them all. 

One critic, however, was no.t prepared to overlook 
any errors in one whom he regarded as a bitter 
enemy. This, of course, was Dennis, who wrote a 
series of " Letters on the Rape of the Lock, 1 ' but 
did not publish them till after the appearance of 
"The Dunciad" in 1728. He describes the poem 
as " one of the last imitations of the finicking bard, 
and one of the most impertinent. The faults begin . 
in the title-page, for the poem'is called Heroj-comical, 
when there is not so much as a jest in the whole 
book. Of. all blockheads he is the most emphatically 
dull who, to an insipid, tedious tale, prefixes this 
impertinent title." Comparing the Rape with " Le 
Lutrin," Dennis complains that the former is an empty 
trifle and has neither fable nor moral, while the latter 
has both, and is serious under the trifling. Belinda, 
again, is a chimera, not a character, and though Pope 
describes her as perfectly beautiful, well-bred, modest 
and virtuous, yet he , makes her owe the greater part 
of her beauty to her toilette, and shows her behaving 
like a termagant, and talking like an " errant 

It must be confessed that Pope, true to his theory 
that "most women have no character at all,' 1 makes 
Belinda a fashion-plate rather than a living creature. 

Johnson thought it the most ingenious and the most delightful of 
all Pope's compositions. Warton considered it the best satire 
extant, and far superior, in point of delicacy and finely-turned 
raillery, to anything that the French had produced. 


: ;i 


in i 

"The Rape of the Lock" 113 

We are told of her charm, but she gives no proof 
of it. Her friends, both men and women, are 
equally devoid of character," and seem less real 
than the sylphs that surround them. But the poet 
may have intended to show the unreality and empti- 
ness, the absence of all true humanity in the 
fashionable world that he haunted, envied, and 
. affected to despise. Although Pope invariably ad- 
dresses his female friends in a style of exaggerated 
deference and over-strained flattery, he displays 
throughout his works a spiteful contempt for women 
which probably had its source in wounded vanity 
He speaks of himself in one letter at this time" as 
the little Alexander whom the women laugh at " 
and assuredly Fate has no fury like a poet scorned.'" 
bex-jealousy, moreover, is always more strongly de- 
veloped m the man of weak physique. The cripple 
the deformed, and the chronic invalid are urged bv 
the instinct of self-preservation to fight tooth and 
nail agamst the abolition of masculine monopolies 
wh.le they think to prop up their claims to virility 
by loudly proclaiming the inferiority of women. 
1 he prmceh-est must have won his title to the place 
before he can yield other than complimentary station 
to a woman without violation of his dignity " P OD e 
was not princely in this sense, and he never dared 
peld other than complimentary station to a woman 

rope had communicated to Addison his design ' 
of the new "machinery '" to "The Rape of 
the Lock," but. Addison had advised him to leave 

IV': '. 

"4 . Mr, Pope 

his poem alone, as it was a delicious little thing. as it 
stood, and merum sal. After the unequivocal success 
of the new version three thousand copies were 
sold in the first few weeks Pope chose to think 
that Addison had given his advice in bad faith, and 
professed to be deeply shocked at the duplicity of 
his friend, to whose true character his eyes were 
now opened. Considering that he himself had made 
the same kind of mistake when he advised Addison 
not to bring Cato on the stage, this point of view 
seemed unreasonable, to say the least of it. Addison 
probably thought that the suggested machinery would 
bring in the tiresome train of gods and goddesses 
who had done duty as the " supernatural agency " in 
the "Pastorals" and "Windsor Forest," Macaulay 
remarks that the only instance in which a work of 
imagination has not been injured by being recast is 
furnished by "The Rape of the Lock." Tasso re- 
cast his " Jerusalem," Akcnstde recast his " Pleasures 
of Imagination," and Pope himself recast " The 
Dunciad " ; but all these attempts were failures. 

Pope's personal friends were unanimous in their 
appreciation of the amended poem. Old Sir William 
Trumbull, who regarded himself as the young man's 
literary godfather, wrote his warm congratulations, 
together with a solemn warning against the perils 
of town life. 

"You have given me," he says, "the truest 
satisfaction imaginable, not only making good the 
just opinion I have ever had of your reach of 
thought and my idea of your comprehensive genius, 
but likewise in that pleasure I take, as an English- 
man, to see the French, even Boileau himself in his 

The Rape of the Lock 



Lutrin, outdone in your poem. ... I now come 
to what is of vast moment, I mean the preservation 
of your health, and beg you earnestly to get out 
of all tavern company, and fly away tanquam ex 
incendio. What a misery is it for you to be 
destroyed by the foolish kindness (it is all one, 
whether real or pretended) of those who -are able , 
to bear the poison of bad wine and to engage you 
in so unequal a combat ! " 

Not less enthusiastic was'. the learned Berkeley, 
who at this time was chaplain to Lord Peterborough,' 
a post he had obtained through the favour of 
Swift. 1 Writing on May i from Leghorn, he says 
he has accidentally' met with "The Rape of the 
Lock " and adds : Style, painting, judgment, spirit, 
I had already admired in other of your writings ; 
but in this I am charmed with the magic of your 
invention, with all those images, allusions, and 
inexplicable beauties which you raise so surprisingly 
but at the same time so naturally out of a trifle." 
He has heard Pope mention some half-formed 
design of coming to Italy, and exclaims : What 
might we. not expect from a Muse that sings so 
well , n the black climate of England, if she felt 
the same warm sun and breathed the same air with 
Virgil and Horace ? " 

It was the fashion then for poets to allude to 
their most ambitious works as mere trifles dashed ' 
off at a moment of leisure, and Pope was nothing 

^ ' Dr. George Berkeley (.685-1753). Berkeley was made Dean 
rISh0p0fC10yneinl 734. It , m 1" 

attempt to found 

"6 . Mr. Pope 

if not fashionable. He had given his acquaintances 
to understand, "as we have seen, that his master- 
piece had only been written to please a friend, and 
with no idea of publication. Now that he had 
remodelled it he was willing to admit that it was 
not a bad little piece of its frivolous kind. Among 
his few women correspondents at this time was a 
certain Miss Betty Marriot, who lived with her 
mother at the village of Stuston, in Suffolk. Miss 
Betty, being young and a belle, sighed for the de- 
lights of London, for balls, operas, and masquerades. 
On one of her visits to town she had met the poet, 
and a mild flirtation had sprung up between the pair. 
Pope presented her with a copy of "The Rape of 
the Lock," and in the accompanying letter explained 
that he was sending her a whimsical piece of work, 
"which is at once the most a satire and the most 
inoffensive of anything of mine. People who would 
rather it were let alone laugh at it, and seem 
heartily merry, at the same time that they are 
uneasy. Tis a sort of writing very like tickling. 
I am so . vain as to fancy it a pretty complete 
picture of the life of our modern ladies in this idle 
town, from which you are so happily, so prudently, 
so philosophically retired. " 



on the "Iliad "-The death of 
Queen Anne 

JCX-CEPT for a brief visit to London in March, 
^ I^ope seems to have spent the first half -of 

Hms i 

Homer Subscnpnons were coming in briskly for 
first volume of the Iliad," and the poet found 



The Greek fortifications he 
approach tea fenna^fc ^ he 
were, , ntlecd , thc critics and comme 

entrenched m d.tches, and who would K hten 
people by the.r numbers and bulk. But he has 
covered , more speedy and gallant method of clg 

general consent the best poet of his time. 




r yl 




u8 Mr* Pope 

at the main works than by mining underground, and 
that was by using poetical machines wings-r and 
flying thither over the heads of the enemy. 

At this time Pope had a valuable assistant in 
the person of his friend Parnell, a fine scholar, who 
had promised to provide the Introduction to the 
".Iliad," and who paid a long visit to Binfield in 
the spring to help with the study of classical 
commentators. The two friends wrote to Gay on 
May 4, and invited him to stay in the Forest, where 
his taste for books, friendship, and ease would 
equally be indulged. " You might here converse 
with the old Greeks," says Pope, " be initiated into 
all their customs, and learn their prayers by heart, 
as we have done. The doctor last Sunday, intending 
to say ' Our Father/ was got half-way in Chryses' 
prayer to Apollo. ... I have contracted a 
severity of aspect from deep meditation on high 
subjects, equal to the formidable front of black- 
browed Jupiter, and become an awful nod as well, 
when I assent to some grave and weighty proposition 
of the doctor, or enforce a criticism of my own/ 1 

Parnell stayed in the Forest through May, and no 
sooner had he left than the unhappy translator found 
himself in a sea of (critical) troubles. " The minute 
I lost you," he complains, " Eustathius, with nine 
hundred pages, and nine thousand contractions of 
the Greek character, arose to my view ! Spondamus, 
with all his auxiliaries, in number a thousand pages 
(value three shillings), and Dacier's three volumes, 
Barnes's two, Valterie's three, Cuperus, half in Greek, 
Leo Allatius,, three parts in Greek, Scaliger, Macro- 
bius, and (worse than all) Aulus Gellius 1 I cursed 

Work on the "Iliad n 9 

them all religiously, damned my best friends among 
the rest, and even blasphemed Homer himself." 

Parnell, it appears, was able not only to grapple 
with Eustathius and all his works, but even to 
perform miracles in the family of Pope. "You 
have made old people fond of a young, gay person, 
and inveterate Papists of a clergyman of the Church 
of England ; even nurse herself is in danger of 
being in love in her old age, and (for all I know) 
would even marry Dennis l for your sake, because 
he is your man, and loves his master. 1 ' 

Pope was seldom without a quarrel, serious or 
trivial, on his hands, and he was again at daggers 
drawn with Philips, who had never forgiven the 
ridicule thrown on his " Pastorals " in The Guardian. 
Writing to Caryll 2 on June 8, Pope relates that " 
" Mr. Philips did express himself with much 
indignation against me one evening at Button's 
Coffee-house, as I was told, saying that I was entered 
into a cabal with Dean Swift and others "to write 
against the Whig interest, and in particular to 
undermine his own reputation and that of his 
friends, Steele and Addison ; but Mr. Philips never 
opened his lips to my &ce, on this or any other 
occasion, though I was almost every night in the 
same room with him, nor ever offered me any inde- 
corum. Mr. Addison came to me a night or two 
after Philips had talked in this idle manner, and ' 
assured me of his disbelief of xyhat had been said, 

1 Parnell's Irish man-servant. 

1 The letter is addressed to "The Honourable But this is 

a heading occasionally used by Pope, in his published Correspon- 
dence, for letters to Caryll. * 

Mr. Pope 

of the friendship we should always maintain, and 
desired I would say nothing further of it My 
Lord Halifax did me the honour to stir in this 
matter, by speaking to several people to obviate a 
false aspersion, which might have done me no small 
prejudice with one party. However, Philips did all 
he could secretly to continue the report with the 
Hanover Club, 1 and kept in his hands the subscrip- 
tions paid for me to him, as secretary to that club. 
The heads of it have since given him to understand 
that they take it ill ; but upon the terms I ought to 
be with a man whom 1 think a scoundrel, I would 
not ask him for his money, but commissioned one of 
the players, his equals, to receive it/* 

Pope adds that it was to this behaviour of Philips 
that the world owed Gay's newly published " Shep- 
herd's Week." Though originally intended as a 
burlesque of Philips's u Pastorals/' the poem pleased 
the public, who accepted it on its own merits as a 
realistic picture of rustic life, " The Shepherd's 
Week " was dedicated to Bolingbroke, but the 
" Rural Sports, 1 * published the previous year, had 
been dedicated to Pope in most flattering terms,- 
and Pope had repaid the compliment, in substantial 

1 The Hanover Club consisted of persons who desired to testify 
their devotion to the Hanoverian line and the Protestant succes- 
sion, in contradistinction to the Jacobites. 
* The poem opens with the lines : 

You, who the sweets of rural life have known, 

Despise th* ungrateful hurry of the lown ; 

Midst Windsor groves your easie hours employ, 

And, undisturbed, yourself and Muse enjoy. 

Soft, flowing Thames his maiy course retains, 

And in suspense admires thy charming strains ; 

The river-god and nymphs about thee throng, 

To hear the Syren warble in thy song. 

Political Ferment 

fashion, by obtaining for Gay, through Swift's in- 
fluence, the secretaryship to Lord Clarendon's 
embassy to Hanover. 1 those days the fact that 

.a man had written some pleasing verses and was a 
popular figure at the clubs seemed sufficient reason 
for his appointment to an important public position. 

. Throughout : h > life, it may be remarked, Gay was 
dealt good hands, but he played them unskilfully 
or ,t may have been that the cards "lay badly " 
On th occ ; the ]uck ^ da against h / m 

Lord Clarendon s mission did not arrive at Hanover 
t.11 after the queen's death, and this belated attempt 
of the Tones to curry favour with their future 
king ended in discomfiture. 

Pope at this period stood resolutely aloof 
pubhc affairs, but he is intimately connected 
the political life of the time through th 
ambitions and disappointments of his distiShed 
fiends. It became apparent, early in the yl, t h at 
the queen had not long to live, and the las[ month 
of her unhappy l,f e were embittered by the quarrel 
of Bolmgbroke and Oxford. Swift was "vainly t y 
to keep the peace between the pair, since in th2 
cooperation^ lay the one hope of carrying on the 
now- Credited Tory Government. Th! 

d u eaene e "^7- 

had made a shrewd thrust in his pamphlet, ' 
Ine Cnsis, for, in March of this year 
he was expelled from the House of Common ' 
Wntmg to Caryll on March r 9 , Pope Je 
news- of Steele's misfortune, and adds- g 

" l am S rr ^ l can be of no other opinion than 


i Mr. Pope 

yours as to his whole .carriage and writings of late ; 
but, certainly, he has not only been punished by others, 
but'suffered much even from his own party in the 
point of character, nor, I believe, received any 
amends in that of interest as yet, whatever may be 
his prospects for the future. This gentleman, 
among a thousand others, is a great instance of the 
fate of all who are carried away by party strife of 
any side. I wish all violence may succeed as ill ; 
but am really annoyed that so much of that vile 
and pernicious quality should be joined with so much 
good humour as Mr. Steele has. 1 * 

In April Swift had applied, through Bolingbroke, 
for the post of historiographer to the queen, and 
had deeply resented his failure to obtain the post. 
By the end of May he realised that his efforts to 
reconcile the rival leaders were vain, and, without 
announcing his intention, he suddenly retired to the 
house of a clerical friend Mr. Gery, at Upper 
Letcombe, in Berkshire where he prepared one last 
bombshell for the benefit of his friend, the enemy 
his pamphlet entitled, " Free Thoughts on the 
present State of Affairs/* Bolingbroke, with the aid 
of his ally, Lady Masham, was plotting to wrest 
the power from Oxford's hands, and, Samson-like, was 
pulling down the edifice of Tory power by means of 
his unpopular Schism Bill. Steele, who had often 
u held the pen " in the happier days of the Scriblerus 
Club when party spirit ran less high, was now the 
open and bitter enemy of Swift. Arbuthnot alone 
kept on his manly, straightforward course, watching 
by his dying mistress's bedside, careless of his own 
interests, and hating no man. 

Visit to Swift 

From a jocular letter addressed by Pope to Swift 

on June 18, it appears that the dean had withheld 

his address from most of his friends, and that many 

rumours were -afloat concerning his doings and 

whereabouts. " At Button's it is reported that you 

are gone to Hanover, and that Gay only goes on 

\ an embassy, to you/* Some people apprehended 

a dangerous state treatise, while others were ready 

to accept the suggestion that the dean was gone to 

meet some Jesuits from the Court of Rome to 

arrange for the coming of the Pretender. "Dr. 

Arbuthnot is singular in his opinion, and imagines 

your only design is to attend, at full leisure, to the 

life and adventures of Scriblerus. This, indeed, 

must be granted of greater importance than all the 

rest, and I wish I could promise so well of you. 

The top of my own ambition is to contribute to 

that great work, and I shall translate Homer by 

the bye." 7 

A fortnight later Pope and Parnell made a 
pilgrimage to Swift's retreat, which was only thirty 
miles from Binfield, and passed some days with the 
dean, who was living the "simple life, 11 . and paying 
his reverend host a guinea a week for his board. 
Pope wrote an amusing account of the visit to 
Arbuthnot in the form of a news-letter : 

July 4. 

"This day the envoys deputed to Dean Swift 
arrived here ' during the time of divine service. 
They were received at the back-door, and, having 
paid the usual compliments on their part, and 

I2 * Mr. Pope 

received the usual chidings on that of the dean 
were introduced to his landlady and entertained 
with a pmt of the Lord Bolingbroke's Florence. 
The health of that great minister was drunk in 
that pint, together with the Lord Treasurer's, whose 
wine we also wished for ; after which were com- 
memorated Dr. Arbuthnot and Mr. Lewis in a 
sort of cider, plentiful in these parts, and not alto, 
gether unknown in the taverns of London. There 
was likewise a sideboard of coffee, which the dean 
roasted with his own hands, his landlady attending 
all the while that office was performing. He talked 
of politics over coffee with the air and style of an 
old statesman, who had known something formerly 
but was shamefully ignorant of the last three weeks. 
When we mentioned the welfare of England he 
laughed at us, and said Muscovy would become a 
flourishing empire very shortly. He seems to have 
wrong notions of the British Court, but gave us . 
a hint as if he had a correspondence with the King 
of Sweden." 

Swift himself gives a much less cheerful account 
of his surroundings in a letter to "Vanessa." 
Though he likes his host very well, Mr. Gery is 
"such a melancholy, thoughtful man, partly from 
nature and partly from solitude, that I shall soon catch 
the spleen from him. His wife has been this month 
twenty miles off at her father's, and will not return 
these ten days, and perhaps the house will be worse 
when she comes. I read all day or walk, and do not 
speak so many words as I have now writ in three 

The Death of Queen Anne 125 

Oxford narrowly escaped a vote of censure at the 
>gmn,ng of July, but he shuffled at f* over every dangerous question an d' 
postponing all tiresome business to-morrow 
Altogether, the "Dragon" seems to have beei th e ' 
Pers n Ieast 'fluted by the rickety state of hi! 
government, whjle such worries as ^JVc h ld 
not escape m ,ght be drowned in a bottle of good 

h f uth T' writing to Swift *Y * *w 

before the queen's death, says The 

of verses I 


us really a most excellent c 
-lly believe when he lays down 
very good poet. I remember the first 

of his *<* 

He that cares not to rule will be sure to obey 

When su mm oned by Arbuthnot, Pope, PaJe,,, and Gay . 

But the queen's patience came to an end at last 
On August r, just as Bolingbroke had stretched 

126 Mn Pope 

out his hand to grasp the reins of power, the 
queen's long sufferings were ended. With her 
dying hand she gave the staff to the Duke of 
Shrewsbury, and the reign of the Tories was over. 
" The Earl of Oxford was removed on Tuesday," 
wrote Bolingbroke to Swift, " and the queen died 
on Sunday. What a world is this ! and how does 
Fortune banter us !" 

In a very different strain was the letter sent by 
Arbuthnot to Letcombe : 

"My dear mistress's days were numbered, even in. 
my imagination, and could not exceed such, certain 
limits ; but of that number a great deal was cut off 
by the last troublesome scene of contention among 
her servants. I believe sleep was never more 
welcome to a weary traveller than death was to 
her. . . . My case is not half so deplorable as poor 
Lady Masham's and several of the queen's servants, 
some of whom have no chance for their bread but 
the generosity of his present majesty. 1 ' 

During these exciting, and to Papists perilous 
times, Pope had deemed it prudent to stay quietly 
at Binfield, and translate as much of Homer as 
perpetual headaches would permit. " The same 
thing, 1 ' he remarks, " that makes old men willing 
to leave this world, makes me willing to leave 
poetry long habit and weariness of the same track. 
Homer will work a cure upon me. Fifteen 
thousand verses are equivalent to fourscore years, 
to make me old in rhyme." 

It was not until after the death of the queen 
that he was tempted to take a trip to London, 
" moved by the common curiosity of mankind, who 

The Death of Queen Anne 127 

leave their business to be looking on other men's " ' 
At the same time he professes to be raised far above 
all party feeling by his philosophy. His one hope 
m this new turn of affairs, is that it may -put an 
end to the divisions of Whig and Tory, and that 
those parties may love each other as well as he loves 
them both. The greatest fear he has, as a poor 
Papist, , s the loss of his horse. Still, if they take 
his horse- away, he can walk; if they take his 
house away, he can go into lodgings; and if they 
takers money away, he can write for his bread " 
In short, no one was ever so mee k, so patient, 
or so long-suffering as Mr. Pope_ unt il he was 

1 Lord Bathurst used to say that Pope always bobbed un in 

vaLl'nTf meffal f ^ a R man Catholic to ke P a horse above the 
forced sir >bUt thlS 13W had "^ en stringently en? 


Relations with Addison Correspondence with 
the Blounts Visit to Bath " Epistle to a 
Young Lady on Leaving Town" 

TTHE death of the Queen was followed by the 
A break-up of the pleasant literary society which 
even party spirit had not been able to spoil, and 
for the time being Pope's friends were scattered. 
Bolingbroke, the optimistic, thought that all was not 
yet lost, and that as prosperity divided, so mis- 
fortune might to some degree unite the party. But 
his friends and colleagues had no such faith. Oxford 
.;j . retired into the country, Swift returned to Ireland,' 

Gay was still with his abortive embassy at Hanover, 
Arbuthnot, his occupation with his "royal patient 
being gone, exchanged St. James's for modest lodg- 
ings in Dover Street, where, he wrote, he would 
be glad to see Dr. Parnell, Mr. Pope, and his 
old friends, to whom he could still afford a half-pint 
of claret. "I have seen," he adds, "a letter from 
Dr. Swift : he keeps up his noble spirit, and, though 
like a man knocked down, you may behold him 
still with a stern countenance, and aiming a blow 
at his adversaries." 


,"1 -. -'. 

'i . ' 

Relations with Addison 


George I. was in no hurry to try on his English 
crown, being shrewd enough to suspect that it 
might prove a misfit. He lingered at Hanover 
leaving his -new country to be governed by the 
Lords Justices, and keeping his subjects in a cruel 
state of suspense. There was a general belief 
that he would choose his advisers from among the 
moderate men of both parties, and it was felt that 
there was hope for all save the Jacobites. On the 
other hand, it could not be forgotten that there were 
two lungs of Brentford, and the king by right 
divine might land before his legally proclaimed 
cousin. Leading statesmen, who were not troubled 
... by scruples, sat on the fence, and negotiated openly 
with Hanover and secretly with St. Germains. 
There were hot-beds of Jacobitism in the North 
and the West, while both the universities were dis- 
affected. Expresses were racing up and down be- 
tween London and Scotland, politicians were hurry- 
ing to their constituencies in view of the approaching 
elections, and the whole nation was standing treat 
or being treated. 

To judge from his correspondence, Pope was 
much more interested in his private affairs at this 
time than in the public ferment. His letter's are 
chiefly concerned with his health, his work his rela 
turns with Addison, and his flimtions with 'the Miss 
Blounts. The question Under which king ? " 
must have possessed the keenest interest for the 
fam,ly at Bmfield and for their fellow-Catholics, but 
no prudent Papist dared to discuss the subject and 
even the post office was not to be trusted. l n 
August I ope was corresponding with his friend and 




, Mr. Pope 

master, Jervas, on the innocuous topic of a head of 
Homer which the artist was to execute for the first 
volume of the "Iliad/* Jervas, anxious to do his 
pupil a good turn, had been putting in a word for 
him with Addison, who, as Secretary to the Lords 
Justices, had once again become a person of influence 
and importance in the political world. On August 
20 Jervas writes that he wishes Pope could have 
hidden his little person behind some wainscot or 
half-length picture, and overheard a conversation 
that he Jervas had held with Addison. 

"He assured me,*' says the painter, u that he 
would make use not only of his interest, but of his 
art to do you some service ; he did not mean his art 
of poetry, but his art at Court ; and he is sensible 
that nothing can have a better air for himself than 
moving in your favour, especially since insinuations 
were spread that he did not care you should prosper 
to m uch as a poet. He protests that it shall not 
be his fault if there is not the best intelligence in the 
world, and the most hearty friendship, etc. He 
owns he was afraid Dr.. Swift might have carried you 
too far among the enemy during the heat of the 
animosity ; but now all is safe, and you are escaped, 
even in his opinion. I promised in your name, like 
a good godfather, not that you should renounce the 
devil and all his works, but that you would be 
delighted to find him your friend, merely for 
his own sake ; therefore prepare yourself for some 
civilities.' 1 

The letter might perhaps have been more tactfully 
worded. Pope, scenting the breath of patronage, 
replied in rather ofF-hand style. He acknowledges 

Relations with Addison 131 

Jeryas's friendly endeavours to do him a service with 
Mr; Addison, and continues : 

" You thoroughly know my regard to his character, 
and my propensity to testify it by all ways in my 
power. You as thoroughly know the scandalous 
meanness of that proceeding which was used by 
Philips, to make a man I so highly value suspect my 
disposition towards him. 1 But as, after all, Mr. 
Addison must be the judge in what regards himself, 
and has seemed to be no very just one to me, so I 
must own to you I expect nothing but civility 'from 
him, how much soever I wish for his friendship. As 
for any offices of real kindness or service which it is 
in his power to do me, I should be ashamed to 
receive them from any man who had no better 
opinion of my morals than to think me a party 
man, nor of my temper than to believe me capable 
of maligning or envying another's reputation as a 

As for his engagements to Swift, these were no 
more than were required by the actual services he 
had done to Pope in regard to the Homer subscrip- 

" I must have leave to be grateful to him, and 
to any one who serves me, let him be never so 
obnoxious to any party : nor did the Tory party 
ever put me to the hardship of asking this leave, 
which is the greatest obligation I have to it ; and I ' 
expect no greater from the Whig party than the 

'See Pope's letter to Caryll (June 8), in which he says that 
Phil,ps had accused h,m of having entered into a cabal with Swift 

I j 







Mr, Pope 

same liberty. A curse on the word party, which 
I have been forced to use so often in this period." 

Pope was now keeping up a fairly regular corre- 
spondence with the ladies of Mapledurham. In 
these early days Teresa appears to have been first 
favourite, , though the poet professed to be equally 
devoted to both sisters. He writes to both in 
the same style of rather dreadful " gallantry "a 
style that was modelled on Voiture's. His letters 
are too often smirched by the indecency which, at 
this period, he believed to be the soul of wit or at 
least of such wit as was expected by a man of the 
world when writing to a pretty woman. It has often 
been asserted that the ladies of that day were 
accustomed to loose language and inconvenient jests, 
which meant no more than the ordinary chaff of our 
own time. But this assertion needs some qualifica- 
tion. It is true that people were more plain-spoken 
in the reign of Queen Anne than, for example, in 
the reign of Queen Victoria, and the great ladies 
were not too much scandalised at un gros mot. But 
the man of breeding, when addressing a woman 
whom he respected, kept his tongue and pen fairly 
clean. In the voluminous letters of Mrs. Delimy 
there is not an unseemly phrase, though Swift 
was among her correspondents. .Again, Wortley 
Montagu, who was a gentleman, though a tiresome 
one, uses but a single coarse word in his corre- 
spondence with Lady Mary Pierrepoint during the 
period of their courtship, arid that word is used in 
all seriousness and sincerity. In the early part of 
Lady Suffolk's correspondence there is rather a laxer 
tone, but the freest letters are -those written by 

Correspondence with the Blounts 133 
maids of honour, who, under the first and second 
Georges, frequently failed to live up to their tide. 

That Pope's girl-correspondents were not all so 
tolerant as the Miss Bloun'ts may be gathered from 
the fact that an improper letter which he sent to 
Miss Betty Marriot of Stuston got him into trouble 
with his Suffolk friends. He felt himself obliged to 
write to the Rector of Stuston, his friend and future 
colleague, William Broome, 1 to apologise for the 
letter, and explain that he was not sober when he 
wrote it ! A duplicate copy had been sent to his 
sisters at Mapledurham, whose sense of propriety 
was apparently less easily outraged than that of Miss 

. Martha Blount was taken ill with the small-pox 

in the summer of 1714. In an undated letter of 

sympathy, addressed to Teresa, Pope says : " A 

month ago I should have laughed at any one who 

told me my heart would be perpetually beating for 

a young lady that was thirty miles off from me ; and 

indeed I never imagined my concern would be half 

so great for any young woman whom I have been 

no more obliged to than to so innocent an one as 

she." After wishing her long life and continued 

beauty, he concludes : "But whatever ravages, a 

merciless distemper may commit, I dare promise her 

boldly, what few (if any) of her makers of visits and 

William Brobme (1689-1745)- Though the son of a farmer, 

asol? e r n 1 Uea ^ atEt0 , nandCambridge - He was considered 
a sound Greek scholar, and was nicknamed " the Poet bv his 

cornpan.ons He had translated the "Iliad" into prose with 
0*11 and Okhsworth, and Pope was glad of his assistance with 
the notes of tustathius. Later, Broome was one of Pope's 
assistants in translating the "Odyssey." 

134 Mr* Pope 

compliments dare do : she shall have one man as 
much her admirer as ever." 

In September Pope paid his first visit to Bath, 
with the faithful Parnell as his companion, and 
thence he wrote on the 25th : U I am this evening 
arrived extremely weary, and new to all the wonders 
of the place. I have stared at the Bath and sneaked 

along the walks with that astonished and diffident 

air which is natural to a modest and ignorant 

foreigner. 1 * There was as yet scarcely any company, 
and no lampoons were dispersed, so that he was able 
to walk about as innocently and as little dreaded as 
" that old lion of satire, Mr. Wycherley, who now 
goes tame about this town." 

Patty Blount was ordered to the Bath after her 
illness by Dr. Radcliffe, but refused to go, and Pope 
wrote to Teresa to express his disappointment at 
this decision. He is convinced that she will never 
look so finely upon earth as she will in the water. 

u Ladies," he exclaims, " I have seen you so often, 
I know perfectly how "you look in black and white, 
I have experienced the utmost you can do in any 
colours ; but all your movements, all your graceful 
steps, all your attitudes and postures, deserve not 
half the glory you might here attain of a moving 
and easy behaviour in buckram ; something betwixt 
swimming and walking ; free enough, yet more 
modestly half-naked than you appear anywhere 

He goes on to explain that his violent passion for 
Teresa and her sister is divided with the most 
wonderful regularity in the world. " Even from my 
infancy I have been in love with one after the other 

Correspondence with the Blounts 135 

of you, week by week, and my journey to Bath fell 
out in the three hundred and seventy-sixth week of 
the reign of my sovereign lady Martha. At the 
present writing, it is the three hundred and eighty- 
ninth week of the reign of your most serene majesty, 
in whose service I was listed some weeks before I 
beheld her." l 

In September Gay returned from his mission to 
Hanover, where the Tory embassy had been coldly 
received by George L Pope wrote to welcome him, 
whether he returned as a triumphant Whig or a 
desponding Tory, but hopes that he is a Whig, since 
"your principles and mine, as brother poets, had ever 
a bias to liberty." He admits, for once, that the 
late universal concern in public affairs had thrown 
them all into a hurry of spirits, and that even he, the 
philosophical Mr. Pope, was borne away with the 
current, and full of expectation of the successor. 
Since he can look for nothing in the way of worldly 
advancement for himself, he is willing to bestow a 
piece of practical advice on his friend : " Write 
something on the king, prince, or princess. On 
whatever foot you may be with the Court, this can 
do you no harm." 

Poor Gay was only too willing to write anything 
on either side that might give him the chance of a 

1 Carruthers says that, " on applying the vulgar touchstone of 
arithmetic to this poetic declaration, we find that the attachment 
must have begun in the year 1707, when Teresa and Pope were 
in their nineteenth year, and Martha was seventeen." Martha 
seems to have told Spence that she first met Pope at her grand- 
father Englefield's house after the " Essay on Criticism" was 
printed, and that she was then a very little girl. As a matter 
of fact, she was twenty-one. 

'36 Mr. Pope 

" place." He must have deeply regretted the 
dedication of his " Shepherd's Week" to Boling- 
broke, but he set to work at once to make amends : 
for .that unintentional indiscretion, and in November 
| brought out " An Epistle to a Lady, occasioned by 
. the Arrival of her Royal Highness, the Princess of 

Pope soon found himself engaged in all the 

amusements of the Bath, and seems to have enjoyed 

:the new experience. "My whole day," he tells 

Martha Bount, " is shared by the pump assemblies, 

the walks, the chocolate-houses, raffling-shops, plays, 

medleys, etc. We have ho ladies who have the 

.face, though some of them may have the impudence, 

,to expect a lampoon. The prettiest is one I had 

the luck to travel with, who has found me out so 

far as to tell me that, whatever pretences I make 

to gaiety, my heart is not at Bath." 

He is endeavouring, he says, like other awkward 
fellows, to become agreeable by imitation, and some- 
times copies the civil air .of Gascoin and sometimes 
the impudent one of Nash. 1 He is even become so 
much of a rake as to feel ashamed of being seen with 
Dr. Parnell, and 'asks people abroad f c who that 
parson is?" The place, of course, reeks with scandal, 
which refreshes and elevates his spirits, and he re- 
marks, oddly enough, that if women could only 
digest scandal as well as men, there were two -who 
might be the happiest creatures in the universe ! 

Teresa was able to be present at the coronation 
of George I. on October 20; but poor Patty was 
obliged to remain in the country. To Teresa Pope 
1 The long-celebrated Master of the Ceremonies Beau Nash. 

* Epistle to a Young Lady" 13? 

originally addressed his " Epistle to a Young Lady 
on leaving Town after the Coronation," 1 but after 
his quarrel with the elder sister he made it appear 
that the Epistle was addressed to the younger. 2 
Here again we have Pope in happy frame, less witty 
than in "The Rape of the Lock," but not less good- 
humoured. Fair Zephalinda is introduced as she 
unwillingly retires from the gaieties of town to 
"wholesome country air/* 

She went to plain-work, and to purling brooks, 

Old-fashioned halls, dull aunts, and croaking rooks ; 

She went from opera, park, assembly, play, 

To morning walks and prayers three hours a day; 

To part her time 'twixt reading and Bohea, 

To muse and spill her solitary tea, 

Or o'er cold coffee trifle with the spoon, 

Count the slow clock, and dine exact at noon ; 

Divert her eyes with pictures in the fire, 

Hum half a tune, tell stories to the squire ; 

Up to her godly garret after seven, 

There starve and pray, for that's the way to heaven. 

Her only admirer is a rough country squire, 


With his hounds comes hallooing from the stable, 
Makes love with nods and knees beneath a table; 
Whose laughs are hearty, though his jests are coarse, 
And loves you best of all things but his horse. 

In pensive thought Zephalinda recalls each fancied 
scene, dreams of her past triumphs, and sees " Coro- 
nations rise on every green. 1 ' In a charming passage 

1 This Epistle was not published till 1717. 

f The heroine is called Zephalinda, the fanciful name under 
which Teresa corresponded with James Moore Smyth, afterwards 
satirised in *' The Dunciad." 

138 Mr. Pope 

which is worth all his letters of gallantry and 
compliment put together, the poet concludes : 

So when your slave at some dear idle time, 
(Not plagued with headaches, or the want of rhyme) 
Stands in the streets, abstracted from the crew, 
And, while he seems to study, thinks of you ; 
Just when his fancy points your sprightly eyes, 
Or sees the blush. of soft Parthenia l rise. 
Gay pats my shoulder, and you vanish quite, 
Streets, chairs, and coxcombs rush upon my sight ; 
Vex'd to be still in town, I knit my brow, 
Look sour, and hum a tune, as you may now. 2 

But if Pope addressed verses to Zephalinda, he 
wrote even more ardent love-letters to Parthenissa 
about the same time. Patty, it appears, had sent 
him two charming notes, and, when admittedly not 
quite sober, he replies, in more than usually . 
; rhapsodical style : 


" It is some proof of my sincerity towards 

\ you that I write when I am prepared by drinking 
to speak the truth ; and sure a letter after twelve 
at night must abound with that noble ingredient. 
That heart must have abundance of flames, which 

. is at once warmed by wine and you. ... In these 
overflowings of my heart I pay you my thanks for 

: those two obliging letters you favoured me with 
of the 1 8th and 24th instant. That which begins 

1 with * My charming Mr. Pope ! * was a delight 

I 1 Parthenissa was the name that Martha assumed in the corre- 
spondence with Moore Smyth. 

i * One manuscript version ended with sixteen offensive lines, . 
which were first published by Warton, 

"Epistle to a Young Lady" 139 

to me beyond expression ; you have at last entirely 
gained conquest over your fair sister. It is true 
you are not handsome, for you are a woman, and 
think you are not ; but this good-humour and tender- 
ness for me has a charm which cannot be resisted. 
That face must needs be irresistible which was 
adorned with smiles, even when it could not see 
the coronation. I do suppose you will not show 
this epistle out of vanity, as I doubt not your 
sister does all I write to her. Indeed, to correspond 
with Mr. Pope may make any one proud who lives 
under a dejection of heart in the country. Every 
one values Mr. Pope, but every one for a different 
reason : one for his adherence to the Catholic faith, 
another for his neglect of Popish superstition ; one 
for his grave behaviour, another for his whimsical- 
ness ; Mr. .Titcomb for his pretty, atheistical jests, 
Mr. Caryll for his moral and Christian sentences ; 
Mrs. Teresa for his reflections on Mrs. Patty, and 
Mrs. Patty for his reflections on Mrs. Teresa. It 
was but the other day I heard of Mrs. Fermor's 
being actually and directly married. I wonder how 
the couple at ... look, stare, and simper since 
that grand secret came out, which they so well 
concealed before." l 

1 Miss Fermor married Mr. Perkins, of Upton Court, Reading, 
in 1714. She died in 1738. The "Baron," Lord Petre, had 
married Mrs. Warmsley, an heiress, in 1712, and died in 1713. 
Pope addressed to his Belinda a very dull and stilted letter on her 
marriage, which was printed with " The Rape of the Lock." 


Preparations for publishing the " Iliad "" The 
New Rehearsal "-"The Temple of Fame" 

had finished the actual translation of the 
first four books of the Iliad " before he went 
to Bath, but much still remained to be done before 
the first volume could, be issued. The Preface had 
to be written, the notes prepared, and the Introduction 
a present " from Parnell revised. In November 
the _ poet spent two or three weeks in London on 
business. The business consisted in part, as he teljs 
Caryll, of " perpetually waiting upon the great, and 
using no less solicitation to gain their opinion upon 
my Homer, than others at this time do to obtain 
preferments. As soon as I can collect all the 
objections of the two or three noble judges, and of 
the five or six best poets, I shall fly to Ladyholt, as 
a proper place to review and correct the whole for 
the last time." 

Pope had had time to reflect on Jervas's well-meant 
advice concerning his .relations with Addison He 
now thought it best to come down off his high horse 
and approached "Mr. Secretary" in a conciliatory 
spirit. In October he wrote to Addison to express 
his sincere hope that some late malevolences had lost 


Preparations for publishing the " Iliad "141 
their effect. Indeed," he adds, it is neither for 
me nor my. enemies to pretend to tell you whether I 
am your friend or not; but if you judge by pro- 
babilities, I beg to know which of your poetical 
acquaintances has so little interest in pretending to 
be so. Methinks no man should question the real 
friendship of one who desires no real service. I am 
only to get as much from the Whigs as I got from 
the Tories, that is to say, civility." He has heard 
that Addison has spoken of him in a friendly manner, 
and is certain that the author of Cato could never 
speak one thing and think another. In proof of his 
faith, he will.ask a favour. " It is that you. would 
look over the first two books of my translation of 
Homer, which are in the hands of my Lord Halifax. 
I am sensible how much the poetical reputation of 
any poetical work will depend upon the reputation 
you g lv e it." He also requests that Addison will 
point out the .strokes of ill-nature which he had 
discovered in the Essay on Criticism," now about 
to be reprinted. 1 

According to Roscoe's account, Addison replied 
that, as he had already read a translation by Tickell 
of the first book of the Iliad," he did not feel 
that it would be right for him to read Pope's ver- 
sion He was willing, however, .to read the second 
book, which he did, and returned it with "high 

The king and the Prince of Wales were among 
the subscribers for the "Iliad," the one sending a 
hundred guineas, the other fifty, while the leading 
Whigs were not slow to follow the royal lead. Lord 

1 The authen ticity of this letter is doubtful. 

r * 2 Mr. Po'pc 

Halifax, now at the head of the Treasury, who loved 
to pose as a patron of literature, made some vague 
suggestion about a pension, to which Pope returned 
an equally vague answer. He acknowledged the 
favour, he. had already received, and those Lord 
.Halifax was pleased to intend him. 

" Y " r lord ship," he continues, may either cause 
me to live agreeably in the town or contentedly in 
the country, which is really all the difference 1 set 
between an easy fortune and a small one. It is 
indeed, a high strain of generosity in you, to think 
of making me easy all my life, on l y because I have 
been so happy as to divert you an hour or 'two ; 
but, if I may have leave to add because you think 
me. no enemy to my country, there will appear a 
better reason, for I must be of consequence " 

Nothing came of the minister's tentative offer^ but 
i'ope was honoured with an invitation to read aloud 
his work at Halifax's house, on which occasion 
Addison, Congreve, and Garth were among the 
audience. Four or five times during the reading 
Lord Halifax stopped him very civilly, saying I ' 
beg your pardon, Mr. Pope, but there is something 
m that passage that does not quite please .me. Be so 
good as to mark the place, and consider it a little more 
at your leisure. I am sure you can give it a better 
turn. Perplexed by this amorphous kind of criticism, 
Pope carefully went over the offending lines, but he 
could not discover what his lordship meant At 
length he consulted Garth, who laughed heartily at 
his embarrassment, and said that evidently he had not 
been long enough acquainted with Lord Halifax to 
know his ways, and that there was no necessity for 

Preparations for publishing the " Iliad " 143 

puzzling over the criticised passages. " All . you 
need do," he explained, *' is to leave them just as 
they are ; call on Lord Halifax two or three months 
hence, thank him for his kind observations on those 
passages, and then read them to him as altered." 
Pope followed the doctor's advice, and the next time 
his lordship heard the unaltered passages, he was 
extremely delighted, and cried out, u Aye now, 
Mr. Pope, they are perfectly right ! Nothing can be 
better." 1 

The rout of Pope's Tory friends was now com- 
plete. Their faint hope that George I. might try to 
conciliate both parties had not been realised. One 
of the first acts of the new king had been to dismiss 
Bolingbroke from all his offices, and h propos of this 
disgrace Pope remarks, in an undated letter to the 
ladies of Mapledurham : 

" I returned home as slow and contemplative 
after I had parted from you as my Lord (Boling- 
broke) retired from the Court and glory to his 
country seat and wife a week ago. I found here a 
. dismal, desponding letter from the son of another 
great courtier who expects the same fate, and who 
tells me the great ones of the earth will now take it 
very kindly of the mean ones if they will favour 
them with a visit by daylight." He sends Mrs. 
Patty half a hundred plays to stay her stomach till 
he can procure her a romance big enough to satisfy 
her great soul with adventures, " As for novels, I 
fear she can depend upon none from me but that of 
my life, which I am still, as I have been, contriving 
all possible methods to shorten, for the greater ease 
1 Spence's " Anecdotes." 

Mr. Pope 

both of the historian and of the reader. May she 
believe all the passion and tenderness expressed in 
the romances to be but a faint image of what I bear 
her, and may y OU (who read nothing) take the same 
truth on hearing it from me." 

' Now that the palmy 'days of the literary clubs and 
coffee-houses were almost at an end, owing to the 
eclipse of the Tory wits and the political occupations 
of the Wh lg wits, a glance maybe given at a curious 
little_ skit by Gildon 1 called, The new Rehearsal; 
or, Bays the Tounger, which satirises Pope, his friend 
Rowe, the dramatist, and, incidentally, the literary 
society that foregathered at Button's. The skit is 
of course, a parody of Buckingham's famous farce,' 
Ihe Rehearsal, and the characters consist of True- 
wit, who has just returned to town from a long 
absence m the country, Freeman his friend, Sir 
Indolent Easie,' a man of wit who is pleased with 
everything and every writer, Mr. Bays the Younger 8 
a pedantic, reciting poet, admired by the mob and 

off < l66 5-'7 2 <>- He wrote several plays and a 

of Defoe." It ,s stated that he attacked Pope in some work 

relat,ng to Wycherley but this has not been identified He was 

one of the victims of "The Dunciad." 

! T^T" t^ Freeman are Probably imaginary persons, but 
S,r Indolent Easie may have been meant for Steele 

Bays the Younger was intended for Nicholas Kowe the 
dramatist (1674-1718), who was a friend of Pope's His 

iT e l We ? am * rt *>J and Lane 

Like Pope, he edued Shakespeare and translated a classic 

t to , CaryI1 t f Se ?r ber20 - I7i3) p p e ^ "-<*<>- 

P a WCek WUh him at B " 

t , u at Binfield ' and adds = "I need 

tell you how much a man of his turn could not but entertain 
; me ; but I must acquaint you there is a vivacity and gaiety of 

ir!T r f St r uUar t0 that & ent!e '^n. ^ich renders it 
imposs.ble to part from him without that uneasiness and chagrin 
wh lc h generally succeeds all great pleasures." 

"The New Rehearsal*' 145 

by himself, and Sawney Dapper, cc a young poet of 
the modern stamp, an easy versifyer, conceited, and 
a contemner secretly of others/* \ Truewit meets 
Freeman at the Rose Tavern, Co vent Garden, and 
asks whether Will's still holds its ground, and 
whether men, now as formerly, become wits by 
sipping tea and coffee with Wycherleyand the reign- 
ing poets. 

"No, no," replies Freeman, "there have been 
great changes in the state of affairs. Button's is 
now the Established Wits' Coffee-house, and all 
the young scribblers pay their attendance nightly 
there to keep up their pretensions to sense and under- 
standing." As for the poets, "a tolerable knack of 
versification sets any man up for an author, but as 
for force of genius, art, imagery, or true sense, they 
are still thought very needless qualifications in a 
poet/' A discussion follows on Rowe's plays, and 
it is decided that these are not tragedies at all in the 
true sense of the word. 

In the second Act Sawney Dapper and Sir Indolent 
Easie join the party. Dapper expresses his regret 
that he has just missed a discourse on his favourite 
subjects, poetry and criticism. ** But," observes 
Freeman, " it was criticising upon poetry, which you 
gentlemen that entertain the town that way are 
mortal enemies to." 

" I must needs say," replies Dapper, cc that if I 
had not written a criticism myself I should not say 
so much in its praise. ... I appeared first in the 
character of a critic in terror em to the reigning 

1 Sawney was intended for Pope, and the name stuck to him all 
his life. 


; .'46 Mr. p pe 

wjts ; of the time, that they should the more easily 
admit me into their number. But then, for their 
encouragement, I writ in rhyme; and faith, to say 
truth, as to matter, not so far above them as to 
make them fear that I should not fall down to their 
. level." 

. Truewit and Freeman, pretending to be greatly 
: impressed, suggest that Dapper should teach the art 
of " raising a name by poetry without any." 

Dapper. I know not but it might be a good 
project, and what I would undertake, did not the 
Greek poets lie on my hands now for a translation. 

Sir Indolent. \ did not know that you Under- 
stood Greek. You are a mighty industrious youne 
man. ' 

Dapper. Why, if I did not understand Greek, 
what of that ? I hope a man may translate a Greek 
author without understanding Greek. 

He then proceeds to give a little dissertation on the 
arts and qualifications necessary to success'in literature. 
It was essential to have a knack at rhyme and a flow- 
ing versification, but that was become,so common that 
few wanted it. Then the author must choose some 
odd, out-of-the-way subject, some trifle or other that 
would surprise the common reader to think that 
anything could be written upon it such as a Fan 
a Lock of Hair, or the like." Boileau and Garth! 
to be sure, had treated of little things with magni- 
ficence of verse, but something newer was wanted 
now, such as heroic doggrel, 1 which had but lately 
been found out, where the verse and the subject 

is an example of " Heroic ' 


/'The New Rehearsal" H7 

agreed. It was desirable, also, to have a new manner 
of address, and to make women speak indecently, 
whether they were women of honour or no. One 
of his most successful methods of getting fame was 
to write a copy of verses in his own praise, and put 
the name of a celebrated old author to it. 1 Again, 
there were then, as the company knew, two parties 
of wits, with two or three men at the head of them. 
He first fixed himself on the good-nature" and easy 
temper of the men of real merit, who cried him up, 
and recommended him to the town, and the town 
took their words. 2 He then gave his approbation to 
the works of the heads of the other party, that is, of 
those who had vogue and no merit, and by this 
means had gained them and all their friends. 8 

** I protest, sir," comments Truewit, " you are a 
great politician. I know not but what you may make 
a Minister of State in time, if ever the Pretender 
should come, by your candour and penetration/' 

Pope was certainly a politician in so far that he 
realised the importance of " keeping himself before 
the public." 4 His arduous work on the ct Iliad " left 
him little or no leisure for original composition, but 
about this time he bethought him of his poem, " The 

1 Pope was accused of having written the copy of verses which 
Wycherley published in honour of the " Pastorals." 
8 The men of true merit were, no doubt, Steele and Addiscn. 

3 The heads of the other party of wits were presumably Swift 
and Arbuthnot. 

4 In 1714 Pope had written an amusing skit called " The Key to 
the Lock," which was published in 1715. In this he pretends that, 
the Lock is intended for the Barrier Treaty, Belinda for Queen 
Anne, Clarissa for Lady Masham, Tlmlestris for the Duchess of 
Marlborough, Sir Plume for Prince Eugene, the Baron for Lord 
Oxford, the Wounded Sylph for Lord Townshend, and Shock for 
Dr. Sacheverel 1 

*4 8 . Mr. Pope 

Temple of Fame," which had been written in t 7 io 
and read by Steele in 1712. This imitation of 
Chaucer s "House of Fame " may not unjustly be 
described as an "academic exercise," and shows the 
poet still in leading-strings, but it is superior in style 
and versification to the work of his contemporaries. 
At any rate, Pope thought it worthy of publication, 
and m February, 1715, he sent a copy to Martha 
tflount, with the following letter : 

' I know you will think it an agreeable thing to 
hear that I have done a great deal of Homer. If it 
be tolerable, the world may thank you for it ; for, 
if I could have seen you every day, and imagined 
my company would have every day pleased you, I 
should .scarce have thought it worth my while to 
please the world. . . . Whatever some may think, 
tame is a thing I am much less covetous of than your 
friendship ; for that, I hope, will last all my life ; 
the other I cannot answer for. . . . Now I talk 
of fame, I send you my 'Temple of Fame,' which 
is just come out, but my sentiments about it you 
will see better by this epigram : 

What's fame with men, by custom of this nation, 
Is called in women only reputation j ' 
About them both why keep we such a pother ? 
Part you with one, and I'll renounce the other." 

The critics who thought that Pope had improved 
upon Isaiah and Homer also held that he had im- 
proved upon Chaucer, but the general consensus of 
opinion has not been altogether favourable. The 
passage which has excited the most admiration in 
this rather frigid poem is that, appropriately enough, 


I The Temple of Fame" 149 ? 

| which describes the rocks of Zembla. More in- 
I teresting, however, is the description of the Temple 
of Rumour, with its reports of 

Turns of fortune, changes in the State, 
The falls of favourites, projects of the great, 
Of old mismanagements, taxation new : 
All neither wholly false nor wholly true. 

Although suggested by the original, these lines arc 
so far " topical " that we may be sure they were 
inserted in the winter of 1714-15. Pope was 
writing of what he saw and heard when he described 


Astrologers, that future fates foreshow, 
Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few ; 
And priests and party-zealots, numerous bands, 
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign knds ; 
Each talked aloud, or in some secret place, 
And wild impatience stared in every face. 
The flying rumours gathered as they rolled j 
Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told ; 
And all who told it added something new, 
And all who heard it made enlargements too ; 
In ev'ry ear it spread, on every tongue it grew. 

As usual, Pope could not resist the temptation to 
introduce an allusion to himself and his own virtues 
at the close, but in this case he was only enlarging 
upon a hint of Chaucer's. In the character of the 
poet who sees the vision of the Temple of Fame, 
he dreams that he is asked whether he too is a 
candidate for celebrity, and replies : 

Tis true, said I, not void of hopes I came, 
For who so fond as youthful bards of fame ? 
But few, alas ! the casual blessing boast, 
So hard to gain, so easy to be lost. 

Mr. Pope 

How vain that second life in others 1 breath, 
Th* estate which wits inherit after death ! 

Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call ; 
She comes unlooked-for, if she comes at all 
But if the purchase cost so dear a price, 
As. soothing -folly, or exalting vice; 

Oh ! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway, 
And follow still where Fortune leads the way ; 
Or if no basis bear my rising name 
But the fall'n ruins of another's fame ; 
Then teach me, Heaven, to scorn the guilty bays; 
Drive from my breast that wretched love of praise; 
Unblemished let me live, or die unknown, 
Oh ! grant an honest fame, or grant me none ! 


"The What^ye-cairt?" Burners "Homer* 
ides" The First Volume of the " Iliad " 

AT a period when the drama was the passion of . 
the English nation, when the playhouse was 
the popular resort of the people, -and when the loves 
and squabbles of actors and managers were regarded 
as matters of 'public interest, it is somewhat strange 
that the most fashionable poet of his day should not 
have been attracted by the theatre its instant fame 
and rich rewards. But Pope, as we have seen, 
dreaded the domination of the players, and dreaded 
perhaps even more the drastic verdicts of the mob. 
He was only interested in the theatre as he was 
interested in politics, through his friends, and his 
one feeble dramatic venture was made under the 
cover of another's name. 

In February, 1715, Gay made a decided hit 
with his tragi-comi-pastoral farce, The What-<Fye- 
calFt? which, though it amused the town, enraged 
some of the critics by reason of its parodies of certain 
famous passages in the tragedies of Shakespeare, 
Dryden, and Rowe. It was generally believed that 
Pope and Swift had helped in the composition of 
the farce, one couplet at least a piece of advice 



Mr. Pope 

from a father to a daughter being thought to show 
the hand that wrote "The Rape of the Lock." 

Mark my last words an honest living get ; 
. Beware of Papishes, and learn to knit. 

On. March 3 Pope and Gay wrote a joint letter to 
Gary 11, in which they describe the reception of the 
piece : 

" The farce has occasioned many different specula- 
tions in the town. Some looked upon it as a mere 
jest upon the tragic poets, others* as a satire on the 
late war. Mr. Cromwell, hearing none of the words, 
and seeing the action to be tragical, was much 
astonished to find the audience laugh, and says the 
prince and princess must be under no less amaze- 
ment on the same account. Several Templars, 
and others of the more vociferous kind of critits, 
went with a resolution to hiss, and confessed they 
were forced to laugh so much that they forgot the 
design they came with. The Court in general has 
in a ivery particular manner come into the jest, and 
the three first nights notwithstanding two of them 
were Court nights were distinguished by very full 
audiences of the first quality. The common people 
of the pit and gallery received it at first with great 
gravity and sedateness, some few with tears, but 
after the third day they also took the hint, and have 
ever since been loud in their claps." l 

In. a later letter Gay complains of a sixpenny 

* Gay's piece would now be described as a kind of burlesque 

melodrama, and it may still be read with amusement In 

Roxana," the first of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's "Court 

Poems," the prudish heroine (the Duchess of Roxburgh) explains 

that to curry favour with the Princess of Wales she forgot her 

I .' 

1 "The mat<d'ye*caim - 153 

criticism lately published upon jthe tragedy of The 
What- ye-cair t ? wherein the author, with much 
judgment, calls him a blockhead, and Mr. Pope a 
knave. 1 The critic's particular objection was to the 
parodies of Cato, which he declared that Gay had 
injudiciously and profanely abused. Steele appears 
to have been of the same opinion, for he said that if 
he had been in town the farce should never have 
appeared. Pope, too, had been afflicted, to use 
Gay's phrase, with a distemper which proves mortal 
to many poets a criticism. " Mr. Thomas Burnet," 
writes Gay, " hath played the precursor to the coming 
of Homer, in a treatise called Homerides.' He 
has since risen very much in his criticisms, and, after 
assaulting Homer, made a daring attack upon The 
What-d'ye-cain? 2 Yet is there not a procla- 
mation issued for the burning of Homer and the 
Pope by the common hangman, nor is The What- 
<Tye~call*t? yet silenced by the Lord Chamberlain. 
They shall survive the conflagration of his father's 
works, and live after his father is damned ; for that 
the Bishop Salisbury already is so in the opinion 
of Dr. Sacheverell and the Church ,of Rome/' 8 

principles and missed her prayers to get dressed by noon, whereas 

Sermons I sought, and with a mien severe 
Censured my neighbours, and said daily prayer. 
Alas ! how changedwith the same serious mien 
That once I prayed, The What-d'yc-catti? I've seen. 
1 This Key to The What-<?ye-cal?tt was attributed to Gerald 
Griffin, an actor ; but it is not improbable that Pope and Gay were 
the actual authors, knowing full well the commercial value of an 
abusive criticism. 

* In a periodical paper called Tke Grumbler. 
1 Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, died on March 17, 1715. 

*54 Mr* Pope 

Burnet's l " Homerides ; or, a letter to Mr. Pope, 
occasioned by his intended translation of Homer ; 
by Sir Iliad Doggrel," is a good-humoured, but 
quite undistinguished, piece of chaff. Burnet taunts 
the poet with having undertaken single-handed what 
all the poets of England dared not jointly attempt. 
It was too late to dissuade him from his mad project, 
because " not only your intending subscribers, whose 
expectations have been raised in proportion to what 
their pockets have been drained of, but even the 
industrious, foolish Bernard [Lintot], who has 
advanced no small sum of money for the copy, 
require the performance of your articles/* All that 
Sir Iliad can now do is to render assistance in the 
gigantic task. There are, he points out, two things 
to be considered in the execution of every heroic 
poem first, how to write the poem, and secondly 
how to make it sell. The second being by far 
the most important, he offers to apply to Robin 
Powel, the puppet-showman, " and I* doubt not 
at my request he will be persuaded to convert the 
whole history of the siege of Troy into a puppet- 
show," Further, a book of the Proposals for Sub- 
scribers should lie open in Mr. Powers- great room 
at Bath, so that after each performance the audience 
might be taken in to sign before they had time 
to cool. The skit concludes with some scraps of 
burlesque verse, which are intended as specimens of 
the style in which the translation should be rendered. 

The joint letters written by Pope and Gay to 

1 Thomas Burnet, third son of the bishop. He was a wit and 
a profligate in his youth. In later life he became a judge of the 
Court of Common Pleas, and was knighted. 

"Homerldes" 155 

Caryll are much more lively, and contain far more 
news and gossip than the more laboured composi- 
tions written by Pope alone. To the chattering pen 
of the author of "The Trivia" we owe our knowledge 
of such little intimate details as that " Mr. Gay 
expects a present from the princess ; we are invited 
this day to a dinner at my Lord Lansdowne's ; we 
are invited to see the lions at the Tower gratis, 
by .a lord who expects to have a new lodging given 
him by Parliament. . . ."* That was in March. In 
April we learn that "Mr.- Pope is going to 
Mr. Jervas's, where Mr. Addison is sitting for 
his picture. In the meantime, amidst clouds of 
tobacco at Williams's Coffee-house, I write this letter. 
We have agreed to spend this day in visits. He 
is to introduce me to a lord and two ladies, and 
on my part which I think will balance his visits 
I am to present him to a duchess. There is a grand 
revolution at Will's Coffee-house. Morrice has 
quitted for a coffee-house in the city, and Titcombe 
is restored, to the great joy of Cromwell, who was 
at a great loss for a person to converse with upon 
the Fathers and church history. The knowledge I 
gain from him is entirely in painting and poetry ; 
and Mr. Pope owes all his skill in astronomy, and 
particularly in the revolution of eclipses, to him and 
Mr. Whiston, so celebrated of late for his discovery 
of the longitude in an extraordinary copy of verses, 
which you heard when you were last in town. . . .* 

1 Lord Oxford, who was expecting to be impeached for his 
conduct as a minister of the late Government. 

1 A coarse and foolish " Ode on the Longitude," written by Gay 
to ridicule Whiston's " New Method of discovering the Longitude 

T 5 6 Mr. Pope 

Mr. Pope's Homer is retarded by the great rains 
that have fallen of late, which caused the sheets 
to be long a-drying. This gives Mr. Pope great 
uneasiness, who is now endeavouring to corrupt the 
curate of his parish to pray for fair weather that 
his work may go on the faster." l 

The two friends promise themselves the pleasure 
of a visit to Ladyholt, but Pope stipulates that 
he is to have his mornings to himself. "For my 
part," concludes Gay, "who do not deal in heroes or 
ravished ladies, I may perhaps celebrate a milkmaid, 
describe the amours of your parson's daughter, or 
write an elegy upon the death of a hare; but'my 
articles are quite the reverse of his that you will 
interrupt me every morning, or ten to one I shall 
first be troublesome, and interrupt you." In. a 
postscript to the letter Pope complains that Gay 
has forestalled all the subjects of raillery and diver- 
sion, " unless it should be to tell you that I 
sit up till one or two o'clock every night over 
Burgundy and Champagne, and am become so 
much a modern rake that I shall be ashamed in a 
short time to be thought to-do any sort of busi- 
ness. I must get the gout by drinking,' as above 
said, purely for a fashionable pretence to sit 
still long enough to translate four books of 

The first volume of the Iliad," a heavy, important- 
looking quarto, padded out with portrait, preface, 

by Signals ' (1714). Gay's " Ode " appeared in Pope's and Swift's 
" Miscellanies." 

1 In the edition of 1735 these joint letters from Pope and Gay 
are printed as addressed to Congreve. 

The First Volume of the Iliad " 1 57 

introduction, maps, and notes, was delivered to 
subscribers on June 6, but the issue to the general 
public was delayed because Lintot was busy printing 
the Report of " the Committee of Secrecy," which 
had been appointed to inquire into the conduct of the 
late Government. Meanwhile, Tickell's translation 
of the first book of the " Iliad " made its most in- 
opportune appearance. 1 Pope had, of course, been 
warned by Addison that this work was in prepara- 
tion, and had replied that Tickell had as much right 
to translate Homer as himself. Now, however, he 
seems to have imagined that Tickell had been in- 
spired by Addison to put forth a rival translation, 
. and later he persuaded himself, or was persuaded 
by others, that Addison was the actual author of 
the work. On June 10 Bernard Lintot wrote to 
Pope in his laconic style: ' J 


" You have Mr. Tickell's book to divert one 
hour. It is already condemned here, and the jmalice 
and juggle at Button's is the conversation of those 
who have spare moments from politics. . . . Pray 
detain me not from publishing my own book, having 
delivered the greatest part of the subscribers already 
upwards of four hundred. I design to publish 
Monday sevennight Pray interrupt me not by an 

1 Thomas Tickell (1686-1740). He was appointed Professor of 
Poetry at Oxford in 1711, and in 1712 brought out his " Prospect 
of Peace," a poem that was much admired by Pope. He was an 
intimate friend of Addison's, and had been employed by him in 
public work. He wrote a fine " Elegy on the Death of Addison," 
and edited his works. His translation of the first book of the I 
/ "Iliad "was put forth ostensibly to bespeak the public favour for / 
a translation of the " Odyssey," which he had in hand. 

*5 8 Mr. Pope 

errata [sic]. I dbubt not the sale of Homer, if you 
do not disappoint me by delaying publication. 1 ' 
> The publication was delayed, but not by the 
author, On June 22 Lintot wrote again that 
the hurry he has been in to get the Report from the 
Committee of Secrecy published has prevented 
the publication of Homer for the present, and 
adds : " Those whom I expected to be very noisy on 
account, of your translation are buried in politics. 
. . .The Duke of Ormonde 1 is to be impeached 
for^ high treason, and Earl of St[rafford] 2 for high 
crimes and misdemeanours/' 

Oxford and Bolingbroke had been impeached in 
the House of Lords on June 10. Bolingbroke 
fled to France, where he offered his services to 
the Pretender, while Oxford, with quiet courage, 
awaited his fate at home; On July 9 he found" the 
long-expected lodging in the Tower. Pope sent 
an early copy of his work to Swift at Dublin, and 
reproached him for his long silence. Swift replied 
in melancholy vein : 

Xt You talk at your ease, being wholly unconcerned 
in public events, for if your friends the Whigs 
continue, you may hope for some favour ; if the 
Tories return, you are, at least, sure of quiet. You 
know how well I loved both Lord Oxford and 
Bolingbroke, and how dear the Duke of Ormonde is 
to me. Do you Imagine I can be easy while their 

1 James, second Duke of Ormonde (1665-1745). He was im- 
peached on June 21, and retired to France on August 8. He was 
attainted and his estates forfeited. He afterwards tried to stir up 
a Jacobite rising- in the West. 

1 Thomas, third Earl of Stratford. The proceedings against 
him were dropped. 

The First Volume of the * Iliad* 159 

enemies are endeavouring to take off their heads? 
. . . . I' borrowed your Homer from the bishop 
mine is not yet landed and read it out in two 
evenings. If it. pleases others as well as me, you 
have got your end in profit and reputation ; yet I 
am angry at some bad rhymes and triplets, and 
pray, in your next, do not let me have so many 
unjustifiable rhymes to war and gods. I tell you all 
the faults I know only, in one or two places^ you 
are a little obscure, but I expected you to be so in 
one or two and twenty/' 

The first volume of the Homer was received 
with a chorus of praise from friends and critics, 
the echoes of which resounded through the century. 
In his Preface Pope says: " Upon the whole I 
must confess myself utterly incapable of doing 
justice to Homer. I attempt him in no other 
hope but that which one may entertain, without much 
vanity, of giving a more tolerable copy of him than 
any entire translation in verse has yet done." He 
records the names of all the distinguished persons 
who had encouraged him in the work, including 
those of Oxford and Bolingbroke, 1 and adds that he 
fears no judges so little as the best poets, who are 
most sensible of the weight of the task. " As for the 
worst, whatever they shall please to say, they may 
give me some concern as they are unhappy men, 
but none as they are malignant writers." 2 

"I have just set down Sir Samuel Garth at the 
Opera," Gay writes to Pope on July 9. " He bid 

1 Swift thought this a proof of great courage. 
1 It was characteristic of Pope to assume that hostile critics 
were necessarily unhappy men and malignant writers. 

Mr. Pope 

me tell you that everybody is pleased with your 

translation except a few at Button's, and that Sir 

Richard Steele told him that Addison said Tickets 

; translation was the best that ever was in any 

language. .;'. . I am informed that at Button's your 

'. character is made very free with as to morals, etc., 

and Mr. A[ddison] says that your translation and 

Tickell's are both very well done, but the latter has 

more of Homer/' 

^It was generally agreed, however, that Tickell was 

fairly beaten off the field by Pope. Jervas declared 

; that he could have made a more poetical version 

; than TickelTs In a fortnight, and Parnell tells Pope : 

; "I have just seen the first book of Homer, which 

came out at a time when it could not but appear as 

; a kind of setting up against you. My opinion is 

i that you may, if you please, give them than ks" who 

j wrote it." . 

' Old Bentley growled out that Pope's version was 
: "a very pretty poem, but . not Homfcr " ; l while 
i Dennis put a rod in pickle against the appearance of 
; the later volumes. The fashionable world, however, 
j acclaimed the work as though it had been a scan- 
dalous memoir or a new French romance, and the 
curious .spectacle might be seen of beaux and belles 
devouring Homer in coffee-houses and boudoirs. 
, It was declared that Pope had found the " Iliad" 
.' brickwork and left it marble, and this was con- 
sidered the highest praise. In. our own day we 

1 This was probably repeated to Pope, who did his best to get 
; even with the Master of Trinity by means of attacks in "The 
Dunciad " and ' Imitations of Horace." Bentley never made any 
| public retort. He contented himself with the contemptuous , 
I remark, "The portentous cub never forgives ." 

The First Volume of the Iliad * 1 63 
Pope's version runs : 

The monarch issued his commands ; 
Strait the loud heralds call the gathering bands. 
The chiefs enclose their king ; the hosts divide, 
In tribes and nations ranked on every side. 
High in. the midst the blue-eyed Virgin flies ; 
From rank to rank she darts her ardent eyes : 
The dreadful ^Sgis, Jove's immortal shield, 
Blazed on her arm and lightened all the field : 

Round the vast orb an hundred serpents rolled, 
Formed the bright fringe, and seemed to burn in gold. 
With this each Grecian's manly breast she warms, 
Swells their bold hearts, and strings their nervous arms. 

* * 

With rushing troops the plains are covered o'er 
And thundering footsteps shake the sounding shore : 
Along the river's level meads they stand, 
Thick as in spring the flowers adorn the land, 
Or leaves the trees; or thick as insects play, ' 
The wandering nation of a summer's day, 1 ' 
That, drawn by milky steams, at evening hours, 
In gathered swarms surround the rural bowers 
From pail to pail with busy murmur run 
The gilded legions, glitt'ring in the sun. 
So thronged, so close, the Grecian squadrons stood 
In radiant arms, and thirst for Trojan blood. 

It may not be uninteresting to compare a late 
nineteenth-century rendering of the same passage 
with the above. In 1891 Mr. Arthur Way pub- 
lished a translation 'of the Iliad " in rhyming 

* This line is '< very pretty," but more suited to a piece like 
The Rape of the Lock" than to a great epic. p ope wouTd no! 

stoop to the mention of flies any more than of fish, or of an 

which, m hi* translation, becomes "The ' 

l6 4 Mr* Pope 

anapaestic hexameters, from which the following is 
quoted : ^ ' 

And the saying pleased Agamemnon, the lord of a warrior folk. 
To the heralds with voice clear-pealing, his host forthright he 

spoke. ' . . . 

To call to the battle-toil the Achaians with long-flowing hair. 
And they made proclamation, and swiftly the war-folk gathered 


And the heaven-fostered kings by the son of Atreus* side 
Sped swiftly arraying the host, and Athene the flashing-eyed 
Was there with her glorious immortal ^Egis that waxeth not 
' old ; ... 

Danced they and streamed on the wind, its hundred tassels of 


All lovely-twisted, and each was the worth of a hundred kine; 
Flashing, it sped adown the Achaian battle line, 
And ever she spurred them on, and she filled each heart with 

And she made them fain of the onset, afire for the stintless 


So from the tents and the galleys came on nation on nation 
of men . 

Pouring forth to the plain of Scamander, and ever the deep 
earth under 

With the tramp of the ranks and the stamping of steeds rang 
terrible thunder. 

In the mead of Scamander they halted, the green mead starred 
with flowers, 

Countless as leaves or as blossoms that wake under spring- 
tide showers. 

Even as the multitudinous flies in swarms untold, 
t That are wheeling and dancing in spring evermore round byre 
and fold > 

When the milk in the pail foams up, and the bubbles are 
bright at their brim, 

So swarmed in the plain the Aehaian long-haired warriors 
grim, - 

Furious, fain to be rending the Trojans limb from limb, 


44 Farewell to London "Satire on Addison 
The Warlike Spirit Visit to Bath 

YN his relief at feeling that the first portion of his 
gigantic task was successfully accomplished, 
Pope thought himself entitled to a little extra in- 
dulgence. For a few weeks he led a gay life 
about town with wits like Gay and Arbuthnot, 
or wild young lordlings such as Warwick and 
Hinchinbroke. His health would not stand a pro- 
longed bout of dissipation, and he was glad to 
retire to peaceful Binfield. Before leaving town he 
wrote a "Farewell to London," from which a few 
stanzas may be quoted : 

Farewell, Arbuthnot's raillery 

On every learned sot ; 
And Garth, the best good Christian he, 

Although he knows it not. 

Why should I stay ? Both parties rage ; | 

My vixen mistress squalls j i 

The wits in envious feuds engage: j 

And Homer (damn him !) calls, r 

.65 . . ' ' !' 

166 Mr. Pojie ' 

The love of arts lies cold and dead 

In Halifax's urn: 1 
And hot one Muse of all he fed 

Has yet the grace to mourn. 

Still idle, with a busy air, 

Deep whimsies to contrive ; 
The gayest valetudinaire, 

Most thinking rake, alive. 

Solicitous for others' ends, 

Though fond of dear repose ; 
. Careless or drowsy with my friends, 

; And frolic with my foes. 

Luxurious lobster nights, farewell, 

For sober, studious days ! 
And Burlington's 2 delicious meal .' 

For salads, tarts, and pease. 

Adieu to all but Gay alone, 

Whose soul, sincere and free, 
Loves all mankind, but flatters none, 8 

And so may starve with me. 

Pope had no.w thoroughly persuaded himself that 
Addison was his bitter enemy, and was endeavouring 
to ruin his reputation, literary and moral For 
July 15 there is a letter addressed by Pope to his 
friend James Craggs, 4 now Secretary of State, which 

1 Halifax had died on May 19 of this year. 

* Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington (1695-1753), commonly 
known as the "Architect Earl." He was appointed Lord High 
Treasurer of Ireland in this year. He partly rebuilt Burlington 
House in 1716, and was a munificent patron of Kent, .the painter- 

3 This was not correct. Gay was willing enough to flatter 
any one if he could be well with the court. 

4 James Craggs the Younger (1686-1721). He was a favourite 
of George I., and in 1718 was made Secretary of State. He was 
supposed to be the lover of the Countess Platen, and was mixed 
up with the scandals relating to the South Sea Bubble. 


Buttons /i$7 ; ' 

gives a curious account of literary society in general s 
and Addison's behaviour in particular. 1 

" The spirit of dissension,*' he complains, "is gone 
forth among us ; nor is it a wonder that Button's is 
no longer Button's, when old England is no longer 
old England, that region of hospitality, society and 
good humour. Party affects us all, even the wits, 
though they gain as little by politics as they do by 
their wit. We talk much of fine sense, refined sense, 
and exalted sense; but for use and happiness give 
me a little common sense. I say this in regard to 
some gentlemen, professed wits of our acquaintance, 
who fancy they can make poetry of consequence at 
this time of day, in the midst of their aging fit of 1 
politics. For they tell me the busy part of the nation 
are not more divided about Whig and Tory than 
these idle fellows of the feather about Mr. T[ickell]'s 
and my translation. I (like the Tories) have the 
town in general, that is, the mob, on my side ; but 
it is usual with the smaller party to make up in 
industry what they want in number, and that is the 
case with the little senate of Cato* However, if 
our principles be well considered, I must appear a 
brave Whig and Mr. T. a rank Tory : 1 translated 
Homer for the public in general, he to gratify the 
inordinate desires of one man only. We have, it 
seems, a great Turk in poetry, who can never bear a 
brother on the throne ; and he has his mutes too a 
set of nodders, winkers, and whisperers, whose business 
is to strangle all other offsprings of wit in their birth. 

1 This letter must be accepted with caution. Craggs was a 
great friend of Addison's, and the part relating to the great Turk 
of poetry is probably spurious. 

168 Mr, Pope 

The new translator of Homer is the humblest slave 
he has, that is to say, his' first minister ; let them 
receive the honours he gives me, but receive them 
with fear and trembling ; let him be proud of the 
approbation of his absolute Lord. I appeal to the 
people, as my rightful judges and masters ; and if 
they are not inclined to condemn me, I fear no 
arbitrary, high-flying proceeding from the small court- 
faction at Button's. But, after all I have said of this 
great man, there is no rupture between us. We are 
each of us so civil and obliging that neither 
thinks he is obliged: and I, for my part, treat 
with him as we do with the grand monarch ; 
who has too many great qualities not to be re- 
spected, though we know he watches any occasion 
to oppress us." 

_ Pope declared that Lord Warwick ' had told him 
it was vain for him to attempt to stand well with 
Addison, whose jealous temper would admit of no 
fnendsfup with a rival. Addison, according to. the 
same authority, had encouraged Philips to abuse 
Pope, and paid Gildon to publish scandals about 
him. The day after receiving this information " 
relates Pope, "while I was heated with what I had 
heard, I wrote a letter to Mr. Addison to let him 
know that I was not unacquainted with this behaviour 
of his ; that if I was to speak severely of him in 
return for it, it should not be in such a dirty way 
that I should rather tell him fairly of his faults, and 
allow -his good qualities, and that it should be some- 
thing in the following manner : I then subjoined the 
' ' This young Lord Warwick was the son of the widowed 
Countess of Warwick whom Addison married in 1716. 

Satire on Addison 169 

first sketch of what has been called my satire on 
Addison. He used me very civilly ever after ; and 
j j never did me any injustice that I know of from 
^ ! that time to hi death, which was about three years 
' after." 1 

The above story was probably fictitious, but Pope 
was especially anxious to prove that the " Character of 
Atticus," by which title the famous satire on Addison 
is generally known, was written before his enemy's 
death. It was first published in a volume of" Miscel- 
lanies " in 1 723,* and Pope was accused of having 

1 Related by Spence. Ayre, in his "Memoir of Pope," gives 
another version of the story, which was to the effect that Pope had 
an interview with Addison at which Gay was also present. Pope 
is represented as having appealed to Addison to treat him in a 
candid and friendly manner, and tell him how he had offended. 
Addison replied in a formal speech, in which he advised Pope to 
divest himself of some of his vanity, as he had not reached to 
that pitch of excellence he might imagine, and reminded him 
that when he Addison and Steele corrected his verses, they 
had a very different air. He proceeded to lay before him all his 
mistakes and inaccuracies, and, speaking of Homer, said Pope 
was not to blame in attempting it, since he was to get so much 
money by it ; but it was an ill-executed thing, and not equal to 
TickelPs. Pope replied that he did not esteem Addison able to 
correct him/and that he had known him too long to expect any 
friendship ; upbraided him with being a pensioner from his youth, 
sacrificing the very learning that was purchased with the public 
money to a mean thirst for power ; that he was sent abroad to 
encourage literature, and had always endeavoured to cuff down 
new merit. "At last the contest grew so warm that they parted 
without any ceremony, and Mr. Pope immediately wrote those 
verses which are not thought by all to be a very false character 
' of Mr. Addison." 

* " Cythereia j or, New Poems upon Love, Intrigue, etc.," printed 
for E. Curll and T. Payne. "The Character" was afterwards 
printed in the " Miscellanies " brought out by Pope and Swift (1727), 
and again, in a revised form, in " The Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot 

Mr* Pope 

waited to attack Addison until he was no longer 
able to defend himself. Hence the story to Spence, 
and the publication, in the correspondence, of the 
probably apocryphal letter to Craggs. ' The " Char- 
acter of Atticus " has rightly been adjudged the finest 
and rr^st finished of all Pope's compositions in this 
genre. Its effect is due partly to the fact that, for once, 
he keeps his temper and frankly admits the virtues 
of his victim at the same time that he lays bare 
his petty faults. This judicial blame, mingled with 
warm praise, was, of course, a thousand times more 
.damaging than the most violent abuse of Dennis 
and his school. Since this famous fragment 'was 
certainly inspired about the time we have now reached, 
whatever the actual date of its composition, it may 
best be quoted here. It will be remembered that, 
after a contemptuous illusion to the Grub Street 
hacks, the poet exclaims : 

Peace to all such 1 but were there one whose fires 
i True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires ; 

Blest with each talent, and each art to please, 

And born to write, converse, and live with ease : 

Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, 
i Bear like the Turk, no brother near the throne, 

View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes, 
; And hate for arts that caused himself to rise ; 
i Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, 1 
; And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer ; 

Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike, 

Just hint a fault, and hesitate 'dislike ; 

Alike reserved to blame, or to commend, 
1 A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend ; 

1 Imitated from a line of Wycherley's in The Plain Dcaltr ; 
" And with faint praises one another damn." 

Satire on Addison 171 

Dreading e'en fools, by flatterers besieged, 
And so obliging, that he ne'er obliged ;* 
Like Cato, give his little senate laws, 
And sit attentive to his own applause; 
While wits and Templars every sentence raise, 
And wonder with a foolish face of praise- 
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be? 
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he ? 8 

The flirtation with the ladies of Mapledurham 
languished when " Homer (damn him !) " called, but 
revived again when the translator allowed himself a 
rare interval of leisure. In June he had told Patty 
Blount that he was studying to forget every creature 
he had ever loved or esteemed. " I am concerned 
for nothing in the world," he declares, " but the life 
of one or two who -are to be impeached, 3 and the 
health of a lady that has been sick;* I am to be 
entertained only with that jade whom everybody 
thinks I love as my mistress, but whom in reality I 
hate as a wife- my Muse. 11 

1 In the early version the following couplet was inserted before 
the Cato line : 

Who, when two wits on rival themes contest, 
Approves them both, but likes the worst the best 
This, of course, was an allusion to the rivalry between Pope and 

* If Pope really showed "The Atticus Character" to Addison in 
1715, the latter showed great magnanimity in praising Pope's 
version of the " Iliad" in his paper, The Freeholder^ May 7, 1716. 
After expressing his approval of the labours of those who have 
translated the classic authors, Addison continues: "The illiterate 
among our countrymen may learn to judge from Dryden's Virgil 
of the mqst perfect epic performance ; and those parts of Homer 
which have already been published by Mr. Pope give us reason 
to think that the * Iliad ' will appear in English with as little 
disadvantage to that immortal composition." 

3 Oxford and Bolingbroke. 

4 Possibly Lady Masham. 

I '72 Mr. Pope 

'.. There rn.ust have been some little quarrel between 
the sisters and their poetical squire, for in July Pope 
sends them a couple of painted fans, which he had 
i ordered from Jervas, as a peace-offering. But it was 
' .no uncommon thing for little presents to be exchanged 
between the two families. Some one sends Pope 
two bottles of white elder-wine, " which," he says, 
"looks like the trick of a kind, hearty, motherly 
gentlewoman, and therefore I believe I owe it 
.to Mrs. Blount." In return,, perhaps, he sent the 
ladies some ripe fruit from Mr. Dancastle's garden, 
wrapped in the only copy extant of one portion of 
Homer. No wonder that he urgently begged the 
wrappings might be returned. 1 
_ Before he left town Pope wrote a long letter to 
his favourite, Teresa, in answer to her oft-repeated 
request for news." It is not a sign that two lovers 
are together, he complains, when they can be so 
impertinent as to inquire what the world does, and 
if she did not think him the meanest creature in 
the world she would never imagine that a poet could 
dwindle to a brother of Dawks and Dyer, 2 from a 
rival of Tateand Brady. The chief_topic of the day 
is the splendid behaviour of Lord Oxford under his 
late reverses. "The utmost weight of affliction 
from ministerial power and popular hatred were 
almost worth bearing for the glory of such a daunt- 
less conduct as he has shown under it." Meanwhile, 
rumours of war were in the air. The clans were 

'Swift alludes to "paper-sparing Pope," and says that the backs 
of his letters 

Are filled with hints and interlined, 
Himself can scarcely read 'em. 
' Well-known writers of public news-letters. 

\- ' ; 

*Vom a mezzotint engraving by J. Fabr. 1733, after the painting by Sir Godfrey Koelkr. " 


Visit to Bath 173 

gathering in the North, and the high-spirited Teresa 
might soon enjoy the sight of armies and encamp- 
ments, standards waving over her brothers cornfields, 
and the windings of the Thames stained with blood. 

Towards the end of July Pope was planning a 
visit to Bath, and he had persuaded Jervas, 
Arbuthnot, and "Duke" Disney 1 to bear him 
company on the journey. Jervas, who was person- 
ally to conduct the party, found many difficulties 
in his way. Fine ladies insisted on coming to be 
painted, Arbuthnot's patients refused to get well, 
and the weather was unsuitable for a long expedition 
on horseback, being as uncertain as the political 
conditions or the public health. At length, on 
August 12, he was able to write to Pope : 

" I could not have failed by Tuesday's post, but 
that the doctor could not be positive as to the 
time, but yesterday we met on horseback, and 
took two or three turns near the camp, 2 partly 
to see my new horse's goings, and partly to name 
something like the day of setting forth, and the 
manner thereof, viz. : that on Thursday next (i8th), 
God willing, Dr. A., D. Disney, and C. Jervas, 
rendezvous at Hyde Park Corner about noon, and 
proceed to Mr. Hill's, at Egham, to lodge there. 
Friday to meet Mr. Pope upon the road, to proceed 

1 Colonel Disney, described by Swift as " a fellow of abundance 
of humour, an old battered rake, but very honest." He was nick- 
named tt Duke " Disney, The wits all loved him, but Lady M. W. 
Montagu describes in unflattering terms " Duke Disney's grin," 
and his 

Broad, plump face, pert eyes and ruddy skin, 
Which showed the stupid joke that lurked within. 
* The fear of a Jacobite rising had induced the authorities to 
establish a large camp in Hyde Park. 

*74 Mr, Pope 

together to Lord Stawell's, 1 therealso to lodge. 
The next day, Saturday, to Sir William Wyndham's, 
.and to rest there the Lord's Day. On Monday 
forward again toward Bath or Wilton, -or as we shall 
then agree. . The doctor proposes that himself or 
his man ride my spare horse, and that I leave all 
equipage to be sent to Bath by the carrier with your 
portmanteau. The doctor says he will allow none 
of us so much as a nightgown or slippers for the 
road -so a shirt and a cravat in your pocket is all 
you must think of for this new scheme/' 

Pope spent a; couple of months with his friends 
at Bath, returning to Binfield about the middle of 
October. He seems to have dropped his corre- 
spondence during his holiday, and we only get a 
glimpse of him and of Bath at this season in the 
letters of Montagu Bacon. 3 Writing to his cousin, 
James Montagu, on September 14, Bacon says : 

c< I arrived here on Saturday night and began 
yesterday to take the waters. . . . There- is a great 
deal of company here. There are balls and plays 
and all sorts of playing. They do not forget their 
politics in the midst of their waters. The Tories, 
who are the majority, thought fit to bring up a 
custom of going without swords, which we Whigs, 
knowing ourselves to be outnumbered, can by no 

1 Lord Stawell lived at Aldermaston. 

* Montagu Bacon was a first cousin of Wortley Montagu's, and 
a son of Nicholas Bacon of Shrubland Hall, Coddenham, Suffolk. 
He was generally in bad health, but he wrote amusing letters, 
and annotated "-Hudibras." In middle life he took orders, but 
his mind gave way, and he died in a private asylum. He corre- 
sponded regularly at this time with his cousin, James Moiitagu, 
to whom he sent the gossip of the town and the Bath. 

Visit to Bath 175 

means submit to, so we are distinguished by that 
I am lodged in the house with two or three very 
pretty ladies. One of them is a great acquaintance 
of my sister, so you may be sure I do not neglect 
the opportunity. Mr. Wycherley and Mr. Pope are 
here too. . . ," 1 ' 

The whole of the West of England was dis- 
affected, thanks to the efforts of Lord Lansdowne 
and the Duke of Ormonde, so that after the 
Rebellion had broken out in the North Bath was 
not a very desirable place of residence for a staunch 
Whig, Indeed, on October 17, Bacon writes : " We 
were in great danger here before the soldiers came 
down, and really showed great magnanimity in 
daring to stay. I hope, since the king has so many 
valiant friends, he will soon see his desire upon his 

Pope, as an intimate friend of the -late Tory 
leaders, would have been in no danger, even had an 
insurrection broken out in the West, but he was 
already safe in his retreat at Binfield. On October 
ii he wrote thence to Caryll that he proposed to 
try his fortune in London a fortnight later. His 
next volume would then be put to press, and, as it 
consisted entirely of battles, it might perhaps agree 
with a martial age. He is weary of translating, 
weary of poetry, and even weary of prose, thanks 
to the notes. 

The allusions to the Jacobite rising in the letters 
of this period are few, and those few are vaguely 
worded. This, no doubt, was partly due to prudence, 

1 Pope and Wycherley had made up their differences, though 
they were never again on a footing of very intimate friendship. 

176 Mr/ Pope 

but even more, perhaps, to Pope's lack of interest 
in public affairs, except as they affected his com- 
] fort, his safety, or his literary projects. The laws 
| against Roman Catholics were now to be more 
stringently enforced, while the nation was too keenly 
interested in the battles of Preston and Sheriffmuir to 
bestow much attention upon the siege of Troy. 
Something of the excitement and agitation of the 
day found its way into a letter addressed by Pope to 
Gary 11 when he was in London in November. He 
explains that he has been in a " wild, distracted, 
amused, hurried state," both of mind and body, ever 
since he came to town. His condition is really 
deserving of pity, considering how people of his turn 
love quiet, and how much his present studies require 
ease. " In a word/this world and I agree as ill as 
my soul and body, my appetites and constitution, 
my books and business. So that I am more 
splenetic than ever you knew me concerned for 
others, out of humour with myself, fearful of some 
things, wearied with all.-. . . This town is in so 
prodigious a ferment of politics that I, who never 
meddle in any, am absolutely incapable of all con- 
: versation in it." 

Pope was still in town on December 16 (just 
ten days before the Pretender landed at Peterhead), 
when he wrote to congratulate old Sir William 
Trumbull on his resolution to remain in his u cave 
in the forest" that winter, "preferring the noise 
of breaking ice to that of breaking statesmen, 
I the rage of storms to that of parties, the fury and 
ravage of floods and tempests to the precipitancy of 
some and ruin of others, which, I fear, will be our 

Visit to Bath i?7 

daily prospect in London, ... I never had so much 
cause as now to complain of my poetical star that 
fixes me, at this tumultuous time, to attend the 
jingling of rhymes and the measuring of syllables ; 
to be almost the only trifler in the nation, and as 
ridiculous as the poet in Petronius, who, while all 
the rest in the ship were either labouring or praying 
for life, was scratching his head in a little room, to 
write a fine description of the tempest." 

VOL, r 12 


The Move to Chiswkfc Lady Mary Wortley 
Montagu Curll and the- Court Poems- 
. Epistle to Jervas" Parody of the First 

YCHERLEY died on January i, I?l6 , age d 
y seventy-five, and on January 21 Pope, who 
had attended at his old friend's bedside, gives the 
Rowing curious account of the last hours of the 
brilliant, wayward dramatist : l 

." He had often told me, as I doubt not he did all 
his acquaintance, that he would marry as soon as life 
was despaired of Accordingly, a few days before 
his death, he underwent the ceremony, and joined 
those two sacraments, which, wise men say, should 
be the last we should receive ; for, if you- observe 
matrimony is placed after extreme unction in our" 
catechism, as a kind of hint of the order of time in 
which they- are to be taken. The old man then lay 
down, satisfied in the conscience of having by this 
one act paid his just debts, obliged a woman who, he 
was told had merit, and shown an heroic resentment 
or .the ill-usage of his next heir. Some hundred 
i ' In a letter to Mr. Edward Blount, of Blagdon 

: . 178 " . 

The Move to Chiswick 179 

pounds which he had with the lady discharged those 
debts ; a jointure of four hundred a year made her 
a recompense, and the nephew he left to comfort 
himself as well as he could with the miserable remains 
of a mortgaged estate. I saw our friend twice after 
this was -done, less peevish in his sickness than he 
used to be in his health ; neither much afraid of 
dying, nor, which in him had been more likely, 
much ashamed of marrying. The evening before he 
expired he called his young wife to the bedside, and 
earnestly entreated her not to deny him one request, 
the last he should make. Upon her assurances of 
consenting to it, he told her ; c My dear, it is only 
this : that you will never marry an old man again.'/ 
I cannot help remarking that sickness, which often 
destroys both wit and wisdom, yet seldom has power 
to remove that talent which we call humour. Mr. 
Wycherley showed his, even in this last compliment, 
though 1 think his request a little hard ; for why 
should he bar her from doubling her jointure on the 
same easy terms ? " 

The quiet, simple life at Binfield, and the society 
of the honest country neighbours, whose friendship 
he had once been proud to gain, could no longer 
satisfy the successful poet. In the early part of this 
year Pope persuaded his father to sell his little 
house and piece of land, and move to Chiswick, 
where they would be " under the wing of my Lord 
Burlington." This desire for change may partly be 
accounted for by the fact that the ladies of the 
Blount family had left Mapledurham. Mr. Blount 
the elder had died in 1710, and his son had married 
Miss Tichborne in the summer of 1715. The 

| I8 Mr. Pope 

mother and daughters, turned out of their old home, 
and left with but a modest income, had decided to 
take a small house in London. In a letter to Caryll, 
dated March 20, Pope says : 

1 "'I write this from Windsor Forest, which I am 
come to take my last look and leave of. We have 
bid our Papist neighbours adieu, much as those who 
go to be hanged do their fellow-prisoners, who are 
condemned to follow them a few weeks after. I 
was at Whiteknights when I found the young ladies 
I just now mentioned spoken of a little more coldly 
than I could, at this time especially, have wished. I 
parted from honest Mr. Dancastle with tenderness, 
and from old Sir William Trumbull as from a vener- 
.able prophet, foretelling with lifted hands the 
miseries to come upon posterity, which he was just 
going to be removed from." 

Pope was full of anxiety and concern about the 
widowed and fatherless at Mapledurham. " As I am 
certain," he continues, "no people living had an earlier 
and truer sense of others' misfortunes, or a more 
generous resignation as to what might be their own, 
so I earnestly wish that whatever part they must bear 
of these may be rendered as supportable to them as 
it is in the power of any friend to make it. They 
are beforehand with us in being out of house and 
home by their brother's marriage ; but I wish they 
have not some cause already to look upon Maple- 
durham with such sort of melancholy as we may 
upon our own seats when we lose them." 

The new. house was in a row called Mawson's 
New Buildings, near the landing-stage at Chiswick, 
which of course was not then a suburb, but a 

The Move to Chiswick 181 

country village within easy reach of London. 1 To 
be close to a landing-stage on the river was like 
being near a station on the District Railway to-day, 
and Pope could easily take a boat up to Whitehall | 

to meet his town friends at the coffee- house, or 
down to the resorts made fashionable by the neigh- 
bourhood of royalty Hampton Court, Richmond, 
and Twickenham. Life at Chiswick, we may guess, 
was not so good for his health or his work as the 
quiet retreat in the Forest, but he was u living his 
life, 1 ' and enjoying all the pleasures that success 
could bring him. Lord Burlington was an excellent 
neighbour, a man of varied interests, if not of 
remarkable intellect, for whom Pope entertained an 
affectionate admiration, which found expression many 
il ; t years later in the famous "Epistle on the Use of 

1 Riches." On July 9 the poet wrote to Jervas, who 

was then in Ireland : . 

" My Lord Burlington desires you may be put in 
mind of him. His gardens flourish, his structures 
rise, his pictures arrive, and (what is far more 
valuable than all) his own good qualities daily extend 
themselves to all about him, whereof I, the meanest 
(next to some Italian chy mists, fiddlers, brick-layers 
and opera-makers) am a living instance." 

One of the most brilliant women in the London 
society of that day was the Lady Mary Wordey 
Montagu, Four years .earlier Lady Mary Pierre- i 

pone had eloped with Mr. Edward Wortley I 

Montagu, a suitor who had been rejected by the I 

1 Pope was rather ashamed of Mawson's Buildings, and in after- \ 

years tried to make out that he had gone straight from Binfield I 

to Twickenham. . . V 

Mr. Pope 

lady's father, Lord Dorchester, 1 on account of his 
refusal to make the customary marriage settlements. 
Wortley Montagu was a man of jealous, egoistical 
temperament, and during the first two years of their 
married life he had buried his young wife in a remote 
Yorkshire village. On the return of the Whigs 
to power Mr. Wortley was appointed one of the 
Commissioners of the Treasury. With considerable 
difficulty his wife persuaded him to allow her to join 
him in London, where she was- soon acknowledged 
to .be one of the most beautiful, and quite the 
wittiest, woman of the day. 

Lord Dorchester had always affected the society 
of literary men, and Mr. Wortley was an intimate 
friend of both Addison and Steele. Lady Mary, 
profoundly bored by the beaux and courtiers who 
hovered about her, struck up a sentimental friend- 
ship with our poet, .and he, dazzled by her rank 
and beauty, and flattered by her preference, fell 
a willing victim to her charms. 2 The lady had a 
knack of scribbling vers de societe y which were not 
intended for publication, but were freely handed 
round among her friends. Pope read her poems, 
and corrected them, 8 wrote her letters in the fashion- 

1 Afterwards Duke of Kingston. 

1 Pope had made Lady Mary's acquaintance in 1715, for in a 
letter to Teresa Blount of that year, in which he endeavours to 
give some "news," he says : " I must stop here till further advices, 
which are expected from Lady Mary Wortley this afternoon." 

3 There was something too much of this, for Richardson, the 
painter, relates that on one .occasion Lady Mary showed Pope 
a copy of her verses in which he proposed to make some trifling 
alterations, but she refused his help, saying, " No, Pope, no touch- 
ing, for then whatever is good for anything will pass for yours, 
and the rest for mine." 

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu 183 

able style of laboured gallantry, exchanged scraps of 
choice scandal, and thoroughly enjoyed his pseudo- 

j, pi Platonic flirtation, 1 

1 ;i Lady Mary .was the author or part author of 

I * some satirical verses entitled "Town Eclogues." 
One of these, " The Basset Table," was afterwards 
published among Pope's own works, while another, 
The Toilette; 1 was attributed to Gay. The lady 
herself claimed the whole as her own composition ; 3 
but, however that may be, three of the eclogues fell 
into the hands of Edmund Curll, the too enterprising 
bookseller, who published them in the spring of 
1716 under the title of " Court Boems, by a Lady 
of Quality/ 1 In the. advertisement it was stated 
that some good judges attributed these poems to 

!|; Gay, while others gave them to the judicious trans- 

lator of Homer. 

On the announcement of the work, Pope sent for 
Curll to meet him, with Lintot, at the Swan Tavern 
in Fleet Street " There," to quote Curll's account of 
the affair, "my brother Lintot drank his half pint 
of old hock, Mr. Pope his half-pint of sack, and I 
. the same quantity of an emetic potion, but no 
threatenings passed. Mr. Pope said, * Satire should 
not be printed,* though he has now changed 

1 Pope liked to have it insinuated that the flirtation was not 
altogether Platonic. Jervas write's to Pope (1715 or 1716) : " Lady 
Mary Wortley ordered me by express this morning, cedente Gayo 
et ridente Fortescuvio^ to send you a letter . . , to come to her 
on Thursday about five, which 1 suppose she meant in the evening." 

a " The Town Eclogues " are among the contents of a manuscript 
volume endorsed in Lady Mary's writing : 

"All the verse and prose in this book were wrote by me without 
the assistance of one line from any other. 


Mr* Pope 

his mind. I said, 'They should not be wrote, for 
if they were, they would be printed.' He replied, 
Mr. Gay's interest at Court would be greatly hurt 
by publishing these pieces. That is all that passed 
in our triumvirate. We then parted. Pope and 
'my brother Lintot went together to his shop, and 
I went home and vomited heartily." 

Pope gives his own version of the affair, in a 
letter, dated April 20. Among his items of news 
is: "A most ridiculous quarrel with a bookseller, 
occasioned by his having printed some satirical 
pieces on the Court under my name. I contrived 
to save the fellow a beating by giving him a vomit, 
the history whereof has been transmitted to posterity 
by a late Grub Street author." CurlFs accusation 
against Pope of an attempt to poison him was tajcen 
seriously by Dennis, but amused the rest of the wits, 
and Pope brought out a. pamphlet called, " A Full 
and True Account of a Horrid and Barbarous Revenge 
by Poison, on the Body of Mr, Edmund Curll, 
Bookseller, with a Faithful Copy of his Last Will and 
Testament," an offensive skit, which the poet had 
the strange taste to include among his prose works. 

The publication of the second volume of Homer 
had been delayed until the martial spirit of the 
rebels was quelled. .Pope himself was doubtful 
whether it was fortunate or no that he was obliged 
at this period (June ,1716) to give up his whole 
time to Homer, since, without that employment, 
his thoughts must have turned upon what was less 
agreeable the violence and madness of modern 
war-makers. He boasts, however, that he had be- 
come so truly a citizen of the world that he looks 


"Epistle to Jervas" 185 

with equal indifference on what he has left, and on 
what he has gained. "The world is such a thing 
as one who thinks pretty much must either laugh 
at or be angry with ; but if we laugh at it they 
say we are proud, and if we are angry with it 
they say we are ill-natured. So the most politic ' 
way is to seem always better pleased than one can 
be greater admirers, greater lovers, and 'in short, 
greater fools than we really are. So shall we live 
comfortably with our families, quietly with our 
neighbours, favoured by our masters, and happy 
with our mistresses." l 

Pope's long and intimate friendship with Jervas 
was celebrated this summer by the publication of 
the charming Epistle to that artist, which was pre- 
fixed to a new edition of Dryden's translation of 
Du Fresnoy's "The Art of Painting." The poet 
begins by urging his friend to 

Read these instructive leaves in which conspire 
Fresnoy's close art and Dryden's native fire, 

and then, in autobiographical strains, reminds him 


Smit with the love of sister arts we came, 

And met congenial, mingling flame with flame; 

Like friendly colours, found them both unite, 

And each from each contract new strength and light 

How oft in pleasing tasks we wear the day, 

While summer suns roll unperceived away 1 

How oft our slowly-growing works impart, 

While images reflect from art to art ! 

How oft review, each finding, like a friend, 

Something to blame and something to commend. 

1 Almost throughout his Correspondence Pope acts upon this 


186 Mr. Pope 

Then he describes their wandering dreams of 
travel : how they were to see Italy together, study 
marbles and frescoes, and match Raphael's grace with 
.' Guido's softer air. Though Dii Fresnoy had put 
: twenty years of toil into his book, Pope points out- 
How faint by precept is expressed 
The living image in the painter's breast .! 

This living image is exemplified by the beautiful 
Lady Bridgewater, whom Jervas loved and painted. 
She had died of small-pox in 1714, aged only 27* 

Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage ; . " ' 
Her modest cheek shall warm a future age. 
Beauty, frail flower ! that every season fears, 
Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years. 
Thus Churchill's race l shall other hearts surprise, . 
And other beauties envy Wortley's eyes ;* 
Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow, 
And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow. 8 

Jervas painted "each pleasing Blount'* about this 
period. In a letter to Parnell the artist says : " I have 
just set the last hand to a couplet, for so I may call two 
nymphs in -one piece. They are Pope's favourites, 
and, though few, you will guess have cost me more 
pains than any nymphs can be worth. He has been 
so unreasonable as to expect that I should have made 

1 The four beautiful daughters of the Duke of Marlborough were 
Henrietta, Countess of Godolphin, afterwards Duchess of Marl- 
borough ; Anne, Countess of Sutherland ; Elizabeth, Countess of 
Bridgewater ; and Mary, Duchess of Montagu. 

9 In later editions, after the quarrel with Lady Mary, the name 
was changed to Worsley. Frances, wife of Sir Robert Worsley, 
was also celebrated for her fine eyes. 

8 Belinda was, of course, Arabella Fermor. 

Parody of the First Psalm 187 

them as beautiful upon canvas as he has done upon 


In the intervals of translation Pope was working 
upon the poem of <c Abelard and Eloisa," which was 
to appear in the following year. In a note to Patty 
Blount he says that he is studying ten hours a day, 
and thinking of her in spite of all the learned. 
" * The Epistle of Eloisa * grows warm, and begins to 
have some breathings of the heart in it, which may 
make posterity think I was in love. I can scarcely 
find it in my heart to leave out the conclusion I once 
intended for it.*-* l 

Less creditable was another composition belonging 
to the same period. This was a parody of the first 
Psalm, which Pope disowned both publicly and 
privately. " I have taken a pique against the Psalms 
of David," he wrote to Swift, " if the wicked may be 
credited, who have printed a scandalous one in my 
name/' He put an advertisement in The Postman^ 
offering three guineas for the detection of the person 
who had . sent the parody to the press. When the 
publisher, a Mrs. Burleigh, stated that she possessed 
the original in his own writing, he thought it better 
to let the matter drop. There is an allusion to the 
affair in a note to Teresa Blount (August 7), in 
"which Pope makes a laudable attempt to supply 
some " news : " 

" Mr. Gay has had a fall from his horse, and 
broken his fine snuff-box. Your humble servant 
has lost his blue cloak. Mr. Edmund Curll has 
been exercised in a blanket, and whipped at West- 

1 The last -eight lines, Pope wished Miss Blount to apply them 
to herself. 

x88 ; Mr. Pope 

minster by the boys, whereof the common prints 
have given some account. 1 If you have seen a 
late advertisement, you will know that I have not 
told a lie (which we both abominate), but equivo- 
.cated pretty genteelly. You may be confident it 
was not done without leave from my spiritual 
director." * 

From this we may gather that Pope had not been 
afraid to avow his authorship of the parody to the 
.sisters, though he denied it to..Swift He sometimes 
presumed too far upon even the Miss Blounts* 
tolerance, however, for the despatch of an improper 
epitaph to Teresa was followed by a penitent note, 
and a plea for pardon. 

u I assure you,*' he writes, in almost abject strain, 
" as long as I have any memory I shall never, forget 
that piece of humanity in you. I must own I should 
never have looked for sincerity in your sex, and 
nothing was so surprising as to find it, not only in 
your sex, but in two of the youngest 'and fairest of 
it. If it be possible for you to pardon this last folly 
of mine 'twill be a greater strain of goodness than I 
expect even from yourselves. But whether you can 
pardon it or not, I think myself obliged to give you 
this testimony under my hand, that 1 must ever have 
that value for your characters as to express it for 
the future on all occasions, and in all the ways I am 
capable of." 

Swift, it is tolerably evident, did not believe in 
Pope's denial of the authorship of the parody, nor 
did he believe in the poet's account of certain 

1 This incident is mentioned in Atterbury's Correspondence. 
It took place at the beginning of August 1716. 

Parody of the First Psalm 189 

persecutions to which he was constantly subjected 
on account of his religion. 

<c Who are all these enemies you hint at ? " he 
asks. " I can only think of Curll, Gildon, Squire 
Burnet, Blackmore, and a few others, whose fame 
I have forgot. Fools, in my opinion, are as neces- 
sary for a good writer as pen, ink, and paper. . * 
However, I will grant that one thorough book- 
selling rogue is better qualified to vex an author 
than all his contemporary scribblers in critic or satire, 
not only by stolen copies of what was incorrect or 
unfit for the public, but by a downright laying other 
men's dulness at your door. I had a long design 
upon the ears of that Curll when I was in credit, but 
the rogue would never allow me a fair stroke at 
them, although my penknife was ready-drawn and 
sharp. I can hardly believe the relation of his being 
poisoned, although the historian pretends to have 
been an eye-witness ; but I beg pardon, sack might 
do it, though ratsbane would not. I never saw the 
thing you mention as falsely imputed to you; but I 
think the frolics of our merry hours, even when we 
are guilty, should not be left to the mercy of our 
best friends, until Curll and his resemblers are 


^Correspondence with Lady 1VL W* Montagu ' 
Country Visits "Three Hours after Mar* 
riage " The Quarrel with Gibber 

:TIJARLY in 1716 Mr. Wortley Montagu had 
\*~* been appointed Ambassador to the Porte, and 
Lady Mary, a woman of high courage and adven- 
turous temper, decided to accompany him on the 
long and difficult journey to Constantinople. In 
July the party set out for Vienna, where they in- 
tended to spend some weeks, and it is at this time 
that the regular correspondence between Pope and 
Lady Mary begins. The poet's letters are, as 
usual, imitations of Voiture a long way after and 
can only be described as among the most tiresome 
and tasteless of all his compositions. Yet he assures 
t the lady that his letters to her will be the most 
impartial representations of a free heart, and the 
truest copies of a very mean original. The freedom 
he proposes to use in this manner, of talking on 
paper will prove him one of the best sort of fools 
|the honest ones. " You may easily imagine," he 
continues, u how desirous I must be of consequence 
with a person who had taught me long ago that it 


Correspondence with Lady 1VL W Montagu 19 * 

was as possible to esteem at first sight as to love ; 
and who has since ruined me for all the conversation 
of one sex and almost all the* friendship of the 
other. I am but too sensible, through your means, 
' that the company of men wants a certain softness to 
recommend it, and that of women wants everything 

Lady Mary was doubtless flattered by the ad- 
miration of a man who was admittedly the first poet 
of the day, but she was quite clever enough to take 
his compliments for what they were worth. " Per- 
.haps you'll laugh at me," she writes from Vienna on 
September 14, " for thanking you gravely for all the 
obliging concern you express for me. 'Tis certain 
that I may, if I please, take all the fine things you 
say to me for wit and raillery, and it may be it 
would be taking them right. But I never in my 
life was half so disposed to believe you in earnest ; 
and that distance which makes the continuation of 
your friendship improbable has very much increased 
my faith in it, and I find that I have (as well as the 
rest of my sex), whatever face I set on't, a strong 
disposition to believe in it." 

Pope professed to be horrified at the idea of the 
winter journey which the Wortleys proposed to take 
through Hungary to Belgrade and Constantinople. 
" For God's sake," he exclaims, u value yourself a 
little more, and don't give us cause to imagine that 
such extravagant virtue can exist anywhere else than 
in a romance." He implores Lady Mary to write 
only of herself, for he cares nothing for descriptions 
of shrines and relics, and had ten times rather go on 
pilgrimage to see her face than John the Baptist's 

Mr. Pope 

head. He dreams of following her across Europe, 
and, if his such that his body (which is as ill- 
matched to his mind as any wife to any husband) 
be. left behind in the journey, the epitaph of Tibullus 
shall be set over his tomb, of which he gives a free 
"translation : 

Here, stopt by hasty death, Alexisjies, 

Who crossed halfJEurope, led by Wortley's eyes. 

Pope paid his usual round of country visits in the 
' autumn, and spent a few days with Dr. Clarke at 
Oxford, where he desired to consult the books, maps, 
and manuscripts at the Bodleian Library. -On the 
journey down, which was made on horseback, he 
had the company of his publisher, Lintot, whose 
conversation he reported in ah amusing . letter to 
Lord Burlington. Lintot described how he dealt 
with authors and critics.. Translators were the 
saddest pack of rogues in the world, and in a hungry 
fit would swear they understood every tongue in 
the universe. Lintot, who knew no language but 
his own, agreed with them for ten shillings a sheet, 
with the proviso that he might have their work 
corrected by whom he pleased. In order to make 
sure that the correctors did not impose upon him, he 
asked any civil gentleman that came into his shop 
a Scotchman, for choice to read him the original 
work in English, and by that he judged whether the 
hacks were worth their money. As for the critics, 
the poor ones were easily" corrupted by a dinner of 
beef and pudding. The rich ones were simply 
given a sheet of blotted manuscript. With this 
they would go to their acquaintance and pretend 

Country Visits 

they had It from the author, who submitted to their 
correction. This gave some of them such an air 
that in time they came to be " consulted as the top 
critics of the town. 

Pope probably paid a visit to the Carylls at 
East Grinstead, where the Blounts were staying in 
September. The sisters fancied that they were not 
made welcome, and confided their grievances to. 

"Are you really of opinion," asks the poet, "you 
are an inconvenient part of my friend's family ? 
Do ye fancy the best man in England is so very 
good as not to be fond of ye ? Why, St. Austin 
himself would have kissed ye St. Jerome would 
have shaved against your coming >St. Peter would 
have dried his eyes at the sight of you." In 
brotherly fashion he wishes them luck at cards and 
good husbands, and concludes with a piece of advice: 
"It is full as well to marry in the country as in 
the town, provided you can bring your husbands 
up with you afterwards, and make them stay as 
long as you will. These two considerations every 
wise virgin should have in her head, not forgetting 
the third, which is a separate allowance. O Pin- 
money ! dear, desirable Pin-money! in thee are 
included all the blessings of women. . In these 
are comprised fine clothes, fine lodgings, fine 
masquerades, fine fellows. Foh ! says Mrs. Teresa, 
at this last article and so I hold my tongue/ 1 

In November Pope was staying at Jervas's house 
in Whitehall. He wrote thence to the artist, who 
was still in Ireland, that he had been entertained 
at Oxford with some interesting drawings, including 

VOL. I 1 

J 94 Mr. Pope 

1 the original designs of Inigo Jones for Whitehall 

f and some early pictures of Jervas's, which future 

! painters would look on as poets did on the " Culex " 

of Virgil. He urges Jervas to make his appearance 

as a history-painter, and not waste his time on 

"such silly stories as our faces tell of. Mean- 

. while," he concludes, " I rule the family very ill, 

keep bad hours, and lend out your pictures about 

the town. See what it is to have a poet in 

your house! Frank, indeed,, does all he can in 

such a circumstance; for, considering he has a 

wild beast in it, he constantly keeps the door 


The great success of Gay's farce, TkeWhat-fye- 
cairt ?, tempted Pope and Arbuthnot to aid him, 
in the composition of a new piece, Three Hours . 
after Marriage, which was produced in 1717. Gay's 
star was in the ascendant just then, for, though 
he had not yet obtained a place, he had made a 
decided hit with his poem "The Trivia; or, the 
Art of Walking the Streets of London," which was 
published in 1716. The tiny work was brought out 
at the enormous price of one guinea, and Pope, who 
helped to procure subscribers, believed that Gay 
cleared about a hundred and fifty pounds out of it. 
Arbuthnot declared that Gay had made so much by 
his "Art of Walking the Streets " that he was 
ready to set up his equipage. The new farce, 
which contained satires on several well-known men 
and women, was a very inferior piece to The VPhat- 
(Tye-cairt?. It was dull, it was rather indecent, 
and it was deservedly hissed by the audience. The 
principal character, a pedantic doctor, was intended 

"Three Hours after Marriage " 195 

for Dr. Woodward/ a physician of some notoriety, 
while his daughter, Phoebe Clinket, was a caricature 
of Lady Winchelsea, 3 for which Pope was held 
responsible. Instead of making^ puddings, Phoebe 
makes pastorals, and when she ought to be raising 
paste she is raising a ghost in a new tragedy. 
Dennis was introduced as Sir Tremendous, a critic, 
and Gibber as Mr. Plotwell. It was an open secret 
that Pope and Arbuthnot had a hand in the work. 
In a " Complete Key' 1 to the farce, the following 
lines appear on the title-page : 

The play is damned, and Gay would fain evade it, 
He cries, " Damn Pope and Arbuthnot ! " who made it ; 
But the fool's-cap that on the stage was thrown 
They take by turns, and wear it as their own. 

Pope was deeply mortified at the failure, though 
Gay was too generous to allow the responsibility 
for the mishap to fall on the friends who had helped 
him. There are genuine pluck and good-humour 
in a letter which he wrote to Pope after the first 
performance : 

"Too late, I see and confess myself mistaken 

1 Dr. John Woodward (1665-1728). He studied geology as 
well as medicine, and published an " Essay toward a Natural 
History of the Earth." He was probably a quarrelsome person, 
for he was expelled from the council of the Royal Society for 
insulting Sir Hans Sloane. 

9 Anne, the poetical Countess of Winchelsea. She published 
a volume of " Miscellany Poems" in 1713. On December 15 of 
that year Pope had excused himself for not meeting Caryll on 
the ground that " I was invited that day to dinner to my Lady 
Winchelsea, and after dinner to hear a play read, at both which 
I sat in great disorder, with sickness at my head and stomach." 
The play was probably a tragedy by the lady herself. Lady 
Winchelsea addressed a copy of laudatory verses to Pope, pre- 
sumably before he had caricatured her. She died in 1720. 

J 96 Mr* Pope 

in relation to the comedy ; yet I do not think, 
had I followed your advice, and only introduced 
the mummy, that the absence of the crocodile had 
saved it. I cannot help laughing myself (though 
the vulgar, do not consider it was designed to 
look ridiculous) to think how the poor monster 
and mummy were dashed at their reception; and 
: when -the cry was loudest, I thought that if the 
thing had been written by another I should have 
deemed the town in some measure mistaken; 
; and as to your apprehension that this may do us 
future injury, do not think of it; the doctor has 
a more valuable name than can be hurt by anything 
of this nature, and yours is doubly safe. I will, if 
any shame there be, take it all to myself, as indeed 
I ought, the notion being mine, and never heartily 
approved by you. ... I beg of you not to suffer 
this, or anything else, to hurt your health. As I 
have publicly said [in the Preface] that I was assisted 
by two friends, I shall still- continue in the same, 
story, professing obstinate silence about Dr. Arbuth- 
not and yourself." 

The principal " situation " .in the farce is that 
wherein the two lovers of the doctor's wife conceal 
themselves in his laboratory, the one inside a 
mummy, the other inside a crocodile. Gibber, who 
no doubt had recognised himself in Plotwell, revived 
the Duke of Buckingham's ever-popular piece, The 
Rehearsal in February of this year. It was usual 
to put topical allusions into the mouth of "Mr. 
Bayes," the poet, and Gibber introduced a harmless 
"gag" to the effect that he had intended to bring 
on the two Kings of Brentford, the -one as a 

The Quarrel with Gibber *97 

mummy, the other as a crocodile. This feeble joke 
proved too much for Pope's irritable vanity. He 
went behind the scenes and roundly abused the 
actor, who declared that he would repeat the gag 
as. long as the play was acted, This is Gibber's 
story. A- version containing slightly more detail 
is furnished by a gossiping letter from Montagu 
Bacon to his cousin, James Montagu : 

u To touch upon the polite world before I 
conclude, I don't know whether you heard, before 
you went out of town, that The Rehearsal was 
revived, not having been acted before these ten 
years, and Gibber interlarded it with several things 
in ridicule of the last play, upon which Pope went 
up to him and told him he was a rascal, and if 
he were able he would cane him ; that his friend 
Gay was a proper fellow, arid if he went on in 
his sauciness he might expect such a reception from 
him. The next night Gay came accordingly, and, 
treating him as Pope had done the night before, 
Gibber very fairly gave him a fillip on the nose, 
which made them both roar. The Guards came 
.and parted them, and carried away Gay, and so 
ended this poetical scuffle." 

Bacon was wrong, however : the affair did not 
end here, but resulted, twenty years later, in Gibber's 
appearance as the hero of "The Dunciad," vice 
Theobald deposed. 

During the spring of this year Pope was busily 
engaged in preparing his third volume of the 
" Iliad " for the press, and also in writing a Preface 
for his collected works, which were to appear on 
the same day. His eyesight suffered from the 

Mr. Pope 

strain, and his correspondence languished, though 
he was still writing impassioned letters to Lady 
Mary Wortley Montagu, for whom, the further she 
travelled from England, the warmer his feelings 
appeared to glow. In January she had started 
on her journey across Hungary to Belgrade and 
Constantinople. Pope professed to be in a state of 
alarm. and anxiety on her account that bordered On 

"Till now/' he writes on February 3, "I had' 
some, small hopes in God and fortune. I waited 
for accidents, and had at least the faint comfort 
of a wish when I thought of you ; I am now I 
cannot tell what I will not tell what, for it would 
grieve you. This letter is a piece of madness, that 
throws me after you in a most distracted manner. I 
do not know which way to write, which way to send 
It, or if ever it will reach your hands. If it does, 
what can you infer from it, but what I am half 
afraid and half willing you should know-^-how very 
much I was yours^ how unfortunately well I knew 
you, and with what a miserable constancy shall I 
ever remember you ? " He has no longer any 
desire to see Italy, but now envies the deserts of 
Hungary more than any part of the polite world. 
" You touch me very sensibly in saying you think 
so well of my friendship ; in that you do me too 
much honour. Would to God you would (even 
at this distance) allow me to, correct this period, 
and change these phrases according to the real truth 
of my heart I " 

Lady Mary had been assured, in Vienna, that 
the whole Ambassadorial party would be frozen to 

Lady Mary 


death, buried in snow, or captured by the Tartars, 
while passing over the plains of Hungary ; but by 
the time Pope's letter reached her she was in a 
position to laugh at all these alarming prophecies, 
for she had found a warm stove and plenty of good 
food at each stopping-place. Probably the poet's 
protestations appealed more to her sense of humour 
than to her heart ; at any rate, she took no notice 
of them, but wrote to him in much the same lively, 
sensible style that she used to her sister, Lady Mar, 
or her friend, Lady Rich. There is a little more 
care in the composition, perhaps, and to the 
"judicious translator of Homer 1 ' she gives some 
account of the old Greek customs that still lingered 
among the country people around Constantinople. 

She has been re-reading Mr. Pope's version of 
the "Iliad *' with infinite pleasure, and finds several 
passages explained of which she had not before 
understood the full beauty. The young shepherds 
still whiled away the long sunny days in making 
music upon their oaten pipes, or weaving garlands 
for the lambs that lay at their feet. The old men 
sat in the gate, and the ladies passed their time 
at the loom surrounded by their maidens, while 
the dances were the same that Diana danced on 
the banks of the Eurotas. 

In June Pope sent out to Constantinople a wooden 
box containing the new volume of the " Iliad," and 
"all that he was worth besides 1 ' namely, his col- 
lected "Works." " There are few things in them,'* 
he tells Lady Mary, u but what you have already 
seen, except ' The Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard,' in 
which you will find one passage that I cannot tell 

20 Mr. Pope 

om ^ aa y -Rich or Miss Griffith Th^ 
. - under cat divisions , the ptries of 

small party in so unmodish a separation " 

C Cekbrated ** of ope^ and 

was much younger than herself Peterborough. He 

' his 



Pope's "Works" "The Epistle of Eloisa to 
1 Abelard" 

| '""THE collected .*' Works " of Pope, who was then, 
{ "... * be it remembered, only twenty-nine, appeared 
on June 3, 1717, in a substantial quarto volume, with 
a portrait of the author (engraved by Vertue after 
Jervas), numerous vignettes by Gribelin, and a long 
Preface. The Preface deserves some notice on 
account of the autobiographical style in which it is 
written. The. poet expresses himself with a certain 
exaggerated modesty, which is but a transparent 
cloak for his high appreciation of his own talents 
and character and his eager desire for the approba- 
tion of the public. He claims that the world has 
never been prepared for these " trifles " by prefaces, 
biassed by recommendations, dazzled by the names 
of great patrons, wheedled with fine reasons, or 
troubled with excuses. 

" I confess," he continues, " it was want of con- 
sideration that made me an author. I writ because 
it amused me ; I corrected because it was as pleasant 
to me to. correct as to write ; and I published be- 


202 Mr. Pope 

cause I was told I might please such as it was a 
credit to please. ... In this office of collecting my 
pieces, I am altogether uncertain whether to look 
.upon myself as a man building a monument, or 
burying the dead. If time shall make it the former, 
may these poems, as long as they last, remain as a 
testimony that the author never made his- talents 
subservient to the mean and unworthy ends of party or 
self-interest; the gratification of public prejudices 
or private passions ; the flattery of the undeserving 
or the insult of the unfortunate/* 

If, however, the publication be only a solemn 
funeral of his remains, he desires 'it may be known 
that he dies in charity and in his senses, without 
any murmurs against the justice of the age, or any 
mad appeals to posterity. " However/' he con- 
cludes, " I desire it may then be considered, that 
there are very few things in this collection which 
were not written under the age of five-and-twenty : 
so that my youth may be made, as it never fails to 
be in executions, a case of compassion ; that I was 
never so concerned about my works as to vindicate 
them in print, believing, if anything was good, 
it would defend itself and what was bad could 
never be defended ; that I used no artifice to raise 
or continue a reputation, depreciated no dead author 
I was obliged to, bribed no living on~e with unjust 
praise, insulted no adversary with ill language, or, 
when I could not attack a rival's work, encouraged 
reports against his morals. To conclude, if this 
volume perish, let it serve as a warning to the critics 
not to take too much pains, for the future, to destroy 
such things as will die of themselves ; and a memento 

. Pope's "Works" 20 3 

to some of my vain contemporaries, the poets, 
to teach them that when real merit is wanting, it 
avails nothing to have been encouraged by the great, 
commended by the eminent, and favoured by the 
public in general." 

The first draft of this Preface, which was con- 
sidered an admirable specimen of the author's prose 
style, was written as early as November 1716, and 
sent to Atterbury for his opinion. The Bishop of 
Rochester declared that the modesty and good sense 
of the composition must please everybody who read 
it, and he saw no reason why it should not be 
printed, " always provided there is nothing said 
there which you have occasion to unsay hereafter, of 
which you yourself are the best and only judge." . 
There was a touch of the prophetic spirit about this 
warning, since the poet lived to violate most of the 
professions he had here made. 

The two chief novelties of the collection were the 
"Elegy in Memory of an Unfortunate Lady " and 
" The Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard." These two 
poems are supposed to disprove the accusation some- 
times brought against Pope that he was merely 
the Poet of Reason, and could delineate neither the 
heights of passion nor the depths of pathos. To 
the modern taste, perhaps " The Epistle of Eloisa," 
with all its splendour of phrasing, seems more like a 
brilliant tour de force than an outflow of genuine 
feeling. The work was probably based on Hughes' 
free translation (published in 1714) of the French 
version of the famous Letters. The authenticity- 
of the Latin version l is not beyond suspicion, and 
1 Published in 1616. 

204 Mr. Pope 

a modern critic is justified in his adaptation of 
Rosalind's words to the pseudo-original : 

I say she never did invent " those letters " ; 
. This is a man's invention, and his hand. 

Into the mouth of Eloisa, whose imagination would 
surely be purged by long years of suffering and 
renunciation, are put the sensual expressions of a 
passionate youth. Pope, in his version, has exag- 
gerated rather than modified this inherent defect, 
with the result that we never "lose the impression 
that a man is masquerading in Eloisa's habit a 
young man, moreover, with his blood on fire and 
his senses on the alert. 

The story of the unfortunate loves of Abelard 
and Eloisa is well known. It will be sufficient to 
remind the reader that the famous Letters Were 
written several years after the separation of the 
lovers. Eloisa and her nuns had been established 
in the Paraclete by Abelard, after they had been 
driven out of the Abbey of Argenteuil The lovers 
had not met or corresponded for several years, when 
a letter written by Abelard to a friend fell into the 
hands of Eloisa. This document, which contained 
an account of his unhappy romance and its conse- 
quences, reawakened all her sleeping passion, and 
inspired the Letters * which have been celebrated for 
nearly three hundred years. 

Pope begins his poem at the moment when Eloisa, 
having just read her lover's letter^ is tempted to 
write to him once again. For a while she struggles 
with the temptation, but finally succumbs. In 

* Assuming their authenticity. 

'"The Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard" 205 

moving strains she implores Abelard not to deny 
her the solace of his written words. She reminds 
him of her innocence when first they met, and she 
thought him a being of " angelic kind.'' But alas ! r 

From lips like those, what precepts failed to move ? 
Too soon they taught me 'twas no sin to love : 
Back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran, 
Nor wished an angel whom I loved a man. 

With an abrupt transition she breaks into the 
now famous manifesto in favour of free love : 

How oft, when pressed to marriage, have I said, 
Curse on all laws but those which love has made ! 
Love, free as air, at sight of human ties 
Spreads his light wings and in a moment flies. 

Should at my feet the world's great master fall, 
Himself, his throne, his world, I'd scorn them all. 
Not Caesar's empress would I deign to prove ; 
No, make me mistress to the man I love ; 
If there be yet another name more free, 
More fond than mistress, make me that to thee. 
Oh, happy state ! when souls each other draw, 
When love is liberty, and nature law ! 

In vivid words Eloisa depicts the mournful solitude 
of her surroundings, where- 
Black Melancholy sits, and round her throws 
A death-lik e silence and a dread repose : 
Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene, 
Shades every flower, and darkens every green; 
Deepens the murmur of the falling floods, 
And breathes a browner horror on the woods. 1 

1 A striking or unusual epithet in Pope's work is frequently 
found to be the result of a good memory rather than an active 
imagination. This line is imitated from Dryden's 
The Trojans from the main beheld a wood, 
Which thick with shades and a brown horror stood. 

206 Mr. Pope 

Yet here, at her lover's desire, she will stay, till 
death breaks her chain. Here she will play the 
part of the spouse of Christ, though . 

Confessed within the slave of God and man. 

In chiselled verse, more remarkable for brilliant 
antitheses than sincerity of feeling, she continues 
her poetical complaint : 

Ev'n here, where frozen chastity retires, 
.Love finds an altar for forbidden fires. 
I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought, 
I mourn the lover, not lament the fault ; 
I view my crime, but kindle at the view ; 
Repent old pleasures, and solicit new ; 
Now turned to heaven, I weep my past offence, 
Now think of thee, and curse my innocence. 
Of all affliction taught a lover yet, 
'Tis sure the hardest science to forget. 
How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense, 
And love the offender, yet detest the offence ? 

So the monodrama goes on, the conflict between 
the claims of a sensual love and a sensuous religion. 
Eloisa looks with envy on the blameless vestal's lot 

The world forgetting, by the world forgot 

and compares her own storm-tossed soul and dreams 
of earthly love with " the eternal sunshine of the 
spotless mind." Abelard's image steals between her 
and her God, and she hears his voice in every hymn. 
Even at High Mass 

One thought of thee puts all the past to flight, 
Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight. 
In seas of flame my plunging soul is drowned, 
While altars blaze, and angels tremble round. 

44 The Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard" 207 
One moment she urges Abelard to come to her, 

With one glance of those deluding eyes 
Blot out each bright idea of the skies 

while the next she implores him to fly from her as 
far as pole from pole 

Rise, Alps, between us ! and whole oceans roll ! 
From the neighbouring tombs she hears a spirit- 
voice that calls her to find peace and calm in the 
eternal sleep. She declares herself eager and ready 
to depart, and only pleads that Abelard may render 
her. the last sad office : 

Present the cross before my lifted eye, 
Teach me at once, and learn of me, to die. 

Ardently she prays that their hapless names may 
be united in one kind grave, and then 

If ever chance two wandering lovers brings 
To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs, 
O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads, 
And drink the falling tears each other sheds ; 
Then sadly say, with mutual pity moved, 
" Oh, may we never love as these have loved!" 

The poern concludes with the famous eight lines 
which were sent to both Martha Blount and Lady 
Mary "Wortley. Each lady was bidden to apply 
the meaning to herself ; but, whoever inspired the 
lines, they bear evident trace of having been written 
under the stress of strong personal feeling : 

And, sure, if fate some future bard shall join 
In sad similitude of griefs to mine, 
Condemned whole years in absence to deplore 
And image charms he must behold no more ; 

. Pope 

Such, if there be, who loves so long, so well, 
Let him our sad, our tender story tell ; 
The well-sung woes will soothe my pensive ghost ; 
He best can paint them who can feel them most. 

Upon none of Pope's compositions have such 
lavish praises been poured out as upon " The Epistle 
of Eloisa to Abelard." Critics partial and critics 
impartial have vied with each other in discovering 
new phrases of appreciation. Johnson declared that 
the poet had left nothing behind him which seemed 
more the effect of studious perseverance and labori- 
ous revisal a verdict which was intended to be 
more flattering than it sounds. Byron preferred the 
Epistle to the famous "Ode " of Sappho. Bowles 
thought it superior to any of the classic Epistles, 
including those of Ovid, Propertius, and Tibullus.. 
In fact, it was generally agreed that the poem was 
unequalled for pathos, picturesqueness, judicious 
contrasts, dramatic transitions, the glow of passion, 
and the musical cadence of the verse. 

It is always interesting to hear the opinion of 
foreign critics on our most admired compositions. 
That anti-Pope, Taine, has dealt in drastic fashion 
wit'h poor Eloisa. Pope, he remarks, has endued 
the unhappy lady with wit ; in his hands she 
becomes an academician, and her Letter is a re- 
pertory of literary effects. She bombards Abelard 
with portraits and descriptions, declamation and 
commonplace, antitheses and contrasts. -Her theme 
is a bravura with contrasts of forte and piano, 
variations and changes of key. " Now it is a happy 
image, filling up a whole phrase ; now a series of 
verses, full of symmetrical contrasts; two ordinary 

* The Epistle of Eloisa to Abetard" 209 

words set in relief by strange conjunction ; an imi- 
tative rhythm completing the impression of the 
mind by the emotion of the senses ; the most 
elegant comparisons and the most picturesque 
epithets ; the closest style and the most ornate. 
Except truth, nothing is wanting. Eloisa is worse 
than a singer she is an author: we look at the 
back of her c Epistle to Abelard ' to see if she has 
not written on it, ' For Press/ " 

VOL. 1 *4 


Social Engagements Country Visits Death of 

the Elder Pope Misunderstandings with the 
. Blounts 

TN the summer of this year Pope describes himself 
* as "full of company and business "correcting 
the Press, revising verses, managing subscribers, 
entertaining Catholic friends, and being entertained 
by "persons of quality." He sent the volume of 
his " Works " to Caryll, but refrained from saying a 
word about it, " though an author might reasonably 
be allowed to be at least as full of his new works as 
a lady of a new suit of clothes. The Preface will tell 
you everything, to a tittle, what I think about them/' 
Pope proposed to make a visit to his friends at 
East Grinstead in the course of the summer. Patty 
Blount, he says, has a hankering after her godfather, 1 
and has advised him to delay his visit until she can 
make hers. The Blounts were just settling into 
their new house in Bolton Street, but Pope thought 
that London at that season was scarcely the place for 
Patty, whose health was never very strong. The 
intimacy between the-poet and the Blount ladies may 
be gauged from the fact that Pope asked Caryll for 
1 Mr. Caryll was Patty's godfather. 


Social Engagements /'an 

twelve dozen of good French wine whenever n hogs- 
head fell into his hands, 1 but explains that half the 
quantity is for Patty, a who scorns to be behindhand 
with me in any -vicious appetite I can pretend to- 
and yet, God knows, for your ghostly comfort, may 
be a saint for all that." 

The visit to East Grinstead was indefinitely post- 
poned, however, for Pope, it is to be feared, was 
beginning to look down on his untitled country 
friends. By the breaking up of Parliament half his 
acquaintance had become his neighbours on the banks 
of the Thames, and August finds him still at Chiswick. 
He has been dancing attendance on Lord Burlington, 
and visiting the Dukes of Shrewsbury and Argyll, 
Lady Rochester, and my Lords Percival and 
Winchelsea, to say nothing of Sir Godfrey Kneller, 
who had given him a fine picture. " All these,*' he 
explains to Caryll, "have indispensable claims to me,. 
under penalty of the imputation of direct rudeness, 
living within two hours' sail of Chiswick." 

In consequence of his many important engage- 
ments, the poet was unable to set out on his annual 
country ramble- before September. On the I3th of 
that month he wrote to the Miss Blounts " as plain a 
history of my pilgrimage as Purchas himself could 
do." In the first place he had gone to Hampton 
Court by water, and had met the prince and all his 
ladies coming home from hunting. Mary Bellenden * 

1 Sussex was famous for its contraband commerce, and the 
landlords sympathised with the smugglers. Pope was asking for 
wine that had paid no customs. 

3 Gay calls her " Smiling Mary, soft and fair as down." She 
was a daughter of John, Lord Bellenden, and married Colonel 
Campbell, afterwards Duke of Argyll. 

?I2 Mr. Pope 

h^TJ^ 1 the charmin S if *<* 

honour, had taken him under their protection (con- 

trary to the law against' harbouring Papists) and 

5E h ,-, a f lnCr ; Which WaS fo "owed P by Ue- 
thing he hked much better- the opportunity of a 
"conversation with Mrs. Howard 2 

C0ntinues ' "t^t the life of a 

ad w e m st mse > 

and wished that every woman who envied it had a 

specimen of lt To eat Westphalia ham in a morn- 
.g. nde over hedges and ditches on borrowed hacks 
come home in the heat of the day with a fever and 

what is worse a hundred times) with a red nWk n 
the forehead from an uneasy hat .'-all' this mav 
qualify them to make excellent lives for fox-hu^rs" 

1" so" a th nCe f . rudd ?- com P^-ned childl.' 

As soon as they can wipe off the sweat of the day 

I they must smaper an hour, and catch cold in the 

princess s apartments ; from thence (as Shakespeare 

***"** '** 


w can easily bdieve no Ione " 

Wales, with a mountain and a rookery, is more con 
temp,ativ e than this Court ; and, as ['proof of t I 

^ *** 

three f * with me 

creature f" h UrS ^ -^ight, and we met no 
creat ure of any quahty but the king, 

J Afterwards married to John, Lord Hervey 

^e^'SL^tr^e^r to the 

She becLe 0^^^ ^^3: 

Pope sent much the same account io Lady Mary Wortley 

Country Visits 213 

The poet then proceeded on a round . of country- 
house visits* He stayed with Lord Harcourt and 
Lord Bathurst, among others, spent a night at 
Blenheim, and "passed some days at Oxford. At 
Lord Harcourt's he met a beautiful Mrs. Jennings, 
who is described as u nearer to an angel than a 
woman/ 1 At any rate, she was charming enough to 
be a credit to the Maker of angels. On the terrestrial 
plane, however, she was only a poor relation of Lord 
Harcourt's, who solemnly proposed that Pope should 
marry her, evidently thinking that a deformed poet, 
with a small but certain income, would be a fair 
match for a penniless beauty. " I told him," says 
Pope, who was always frank about his personal 
defects, " that it was what he never could have thought 
of, if it had not been his misfortune to be blind, and 
what 1 never could think of, while I had eyes to see 
both her and myself." 

A visit to Oxford was always a delight to the 
poet, who probably never felt the disabilities of his 
religion so keenly as in the old halls and shady 
gardens of the University. There is no prettier bit 
of word-painting in all his correspondence than the 
passage in which he describes (to Martha Blount) 
his ride through the shades of an autumn evening 
from Windsor Forest to Oxford, and nearly every 
syllable rings true : 

" Nothing could have more of that melancholy 
which once used to please me than my last day's 

Montagu in 1718, after the quarrel between the two Courts. He 
then says:. "I walked there [Hampton Court] the other day by 
the moon, and met no creature of any quality but the king, who 
was giving audience all alone to the birds under the garden- 

214 Mr. Pope 

journey ; for, after having passed through my 
favourite woods in the Forest, with a thousand 
reveries of past pleasures, I rid over hanging hills, 
whose tops were edged with groves and whose 
feet were 'watered with winding rivers, listening 
to the fall of cataracts below, and the murmuring 
of the winds above* The gloomy verdure of the 
Stonor succeeded to these ; and then the shades 
of evening overtook me. The moon rose in the 
clearest sky I ever saw, by whose solemn light I 
paced on slowly, without company, or any interrup- 
tion to the range of my thoughts. About a mile 
before I reached Oxford, all the bells tolled in differ-, 
ent notes ; the clocks of every college answered one 
another and sounded forth (some in deeper, some in 
softer tone) that it was eleven at night. All- this 
was no ill preparation to the life I have led since, 
among those old walls, venerable galleries, stone 
porticos, studious walks, and solitary scenes of the 
University. I wanted nothing but a black gown and 
a salary to be as mere a bookworm as any there. I 
conformed myself to the college hours, was rolled up 
in books, lay in one of the most ancient, dusky parts 
of the University, and was as dead to the world as any 
hermit of the desert. If anything was alive or 
awake in me it was a little vanity, such as even 
those good men used to entertain when the monks 
of their own order extolled their piety and abstrac- 
tion. For I found myself received with a sort of 
respect, which this idle part of mankind, the learned, 
pay to their own species ; who are as considerable 
here as the busy, the gay, and the ambitious are in 
your world." 

Death of the Elder Pope 215 

Pope was back in town by October 5, and still 
holding out hopes that he would pay the long- 
promised visit to the Carylls. It is not likely, how- 
ever, that he again left home, for on October 23 his 
father died suddenly. 1 The next morning the poet 
wrote to Martha Blount, to whom, rather than to 
Teresa, he turned in his affliction: "My poor 
father died last night. Believe,, since I do not for- 
get you this moment, I never shall." 

Martha replied in no less brief and simple fashion : 

_ My sister and I shall be at home all day. If 

'any company comes that you don't like, I'll go 

up into my room with you. I hope we shall see 

the 28th Pope wrote to inform Caryll of his 
bereavement. His father's death, he says was 
the happiest imaginable, 2 but he himself had lost 
one to whom he was even more obliged as a friend 
than as a father. " My poor mother," he adds, " is 
so afflicted that it would be barbarity to leave her 
this winter, which is the true reason that I am not 
now at Ladyholt." . 

The loss of his father made little real difference in 
Pope's fortunes or way of life. For a time, at least, 
to quote his own words, he would be less of a poet, 
though not, he hoped, less of a gentleman. He 
was left, he declared, to the management of so 
narrow a fortune. that any one false step would be 
fatal. This was rather an exaggerated account of 

1 Mr. Pope was in his seventy-sixth year. 
> His life, though long, to sickness passed unknown, 
His death was instant, and without a groan. 

Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot. 

216 Mr. Pope 

the situation. Pope the elder left several thousand 
pounds, carefully invested in French securities, which, 
with the interest of the sums paid for the " Iliad," 
brought in an income of six or seven hundred a 
year. Pope had no extravagant tastes, he was not 
likely to marry, and there seemed no reason why 
he and his mother should make any change in 
their prudent though comfortable manner of living. 

The Bishop of Rochester, however, thought that 
the poet might now improve his position by changing 
his faith. In his letter of condolence Atterbury 
rather crudely suggests that, " When you have paid 
the debt of tenderness you owe to the memory of 
a father, I doubt not but you will turn your thoughts 
towards improving that accident to your owii ease 
and happiness. You have it now in your po\yer 
to pursue that method of thinking and living which 
you like, best.*' 

Pope, though never an orthodox son of Holy 
Church, was rather shocked at the cool cynicism of 
the bishop's suggestion. He wrote an excellent 
letter in reply, in which he gave a summary of his 
principles, political and religious. With the death 
of his father he had not lost the only tie that bound 
him to the old religion. " I thank God another 
still remains (and long may it remain) of the same 
tender nature. ... A rigid divine may call it a 
carnal tie ; but sure it is a virtuous one. At least 
I am more certain that it is a duty of nature to 
preserve a good parent's life and happiness than 
I am of any speculative point whatever. . . . For 
she, my lord, would think this separation more 
grievous than any other, and I, for my part, know 

Misunderstandings with the Blounts 217 

as little as poor Euryalus did of the success of such 
an adventure." 

Although he cannot tell whether the change 
would be to his spiritual advantage, he fully admits 
that, on the temporal side, the arguments are all with 
the bishop; but even if he possessed the talents for 
an active career, he lacked the, health for it, and 
was convinced that a contemplative life was the 
only one for which he was really fitted. As for 
his political and religious sentiments, he only desires 
to preserve the peace of his life in any Government 
under which he lives, and the peace of his conscience 
in any church with which he communicates. "I 
am not a Papist, 11 he explains with unusual candour, 
" for I renounce the temporal invasions of the papal 
power, and detest their arrogated authority over 
princes and states. I am a Catholic in the strictest 
sense of the word. ... I have a due sense of the 
excellence of the British Constitution. In a word, 
the things I have always wished to see are not 
a Roman Catholic, or a French Catholic, but a 
true Catholic ; not a king of Whigs or a king 
of Tories, but a king of England, which God in 
His mercy grant his present majesty may be, and 
all future majesties/' 

At the end of this year some mysterious trouble 
arose between Pope and his old friends, the Blounts. 
As far as can be gathered from the correspondence, 
the sisters had somehow contrived to wound the 
sensitive feelings of the poet Apparently he 
thought himself less welcome than formerly, and it 
may be that he found less sympathy than he expected 
during his time of mourning. Again, he felt, or 

218 Mr* Pope 

professed to feel, too warmly towards one of the 
sisters to bear with philosophy being treated as a 
mere friendly acquaintance. Injured feeling, or 
possibly wounded vanity, is the key-note of a letter 
addressed "To the Young Ladies of Bolton Street." 
He begins by informing them that he no longer 
intends to be a constant companion, since he has 
ceased to be an agreeable one. They, as his friends, 
have had the privilege of knowing his unhappiness, 
and are therefore the only people whom his 
company must make melancholy. He feels that he 
comes across their diversions like a skeleton, % and 
dashes their pleasures. " Nothing can be more 
shocking than to be perpetually meeting the ghost 
of an old acquaintance, which is all you can ever see 
of me." - 

The sisters are not to imagine, however, that 
his absence proceeds from any decrease of friend- 
ship. If they had any love for him he would, always 
be glad to gratify them with an object that they 
thought agreeable, but feelings of mere friendship 
and esteem may be as well, or better, preserved at 
a distance. " And, you may depend upon it, I will 
wait upon you on every occasion at the first summons 
as long as I live. I have sometimes found myself 
inclined to be in love with you, and, as I have reason 
to know, from your temper and conduct, how 
miserably I should be used in that circumstance, it is 
worth my while to avoid it. It is enough to be 
disagreeable without adding food to it by constant 
| . slavery. I have heard, indeed, of women that have 

I had a kindness for men of my make. ... I love 

! you so well that I tell you the truth, and that has 

Misunderstandings with the Blounts 219 

made me write this letter. I will see you less 
frequently this winter, as you'll less want company. 
When the gay part of the world is gone, I'll be 
ready to stop the gap of a vacant hour whenever you 
please. Till then I'll converse with those who are 
more indifferent to me, as you will with those who 
are more entertaining. I wish you every pleasure 
God and man can pour upon ye ; and I faithfully 
promise you all the good I can do, which is the 
service of a friend who will ever be, ladies, entirely 



Quarrel with the Blounts Stanton Harcourt 
Fate of the Rustic Lovers 

"COR some time after his father's death Pope 
-V retired from the "great world/' He describes 
himself as living in a deep desert solitude, immersed 
in books, and seeing no company beyond his -own 
family, for a week at a time. He is sick of the 
vanities of the town, and had taken his last leave 
of impertinence at a masquerade the true epitome 
of all absurdities some time before. "I was led 
thither, as one is to all foolish things by keeping 
foolish company ; after saying which it would be 
unmannerly to add, it was that of a great person. 
But of late the great have been the shining examples 
of folly, public and private, and the best translation 
at this time of" O tempora ! O mores ! " would be 
"O kings! O princes! " 

His low spirits and aversion to society at this 
period may have been partly owing to his strained 
relations with the Blounts. The chief quarrel was 
with the once-favoured Teresa, whom he had been 
assisting in some financial speculations always a 
delicate and dangerous service. At the same time 


Quarrel with the Blounts 221 

he seems to have been thinking seriously of marriage, 
and to have asked Teresa, in confidence, whether she 
thought that he had a chance with Patty. Teresa, 
who, for some "reason or other, wz.s annoyed at his 
offer of financial assistance, appears to have betrayed 
his confidence and misrepresented his intentions to 
her sister. The following letter to Teresa, dated 
February 21, gives some account of the affair, 
which remains, however, as regards the details, one 
of the petty mysteries of Pope's life : 

" I desire to know," he begins abruptly, " what is 
your meaning, to resent my complying with your 
request and endeavouring to serve you in the way 
you proposed, as if I had done you some great 
injury? You told me, if such a thing was the 
secret of my heart, you should entirely forgive and 
think, well of me. I told it, and find the contrary. 
You pretended so much generosity as to offer your 
service in my behalf. The minute after you did me 
as ill an office as you could, in telling the party 
concerned it was all but an amusement, occasioned 
by my loss of another lady. 

" You express yourself desirous of increasing your 
present income upon life. 1 proposed the only 
method I then could find, and you encouraged me 
to proceed in it. When it was done, you received it 
as if it were an affront, since, when I find the very 
thing in the very manner you wished, and mention 
it to you, you do not think it worth an answer. 

" If your meaning be that the very things you ask 
and wish become odious to you when it is I that 
comply with them, or bring them about, pray own 
it, and deceive me no longer with any thought but 

Mr. Pope 

that you hate me. My friendship is too warm and 
sincere to be trifled with ; therefore, if you have any 
meaning, tell it me, or you must allow me to take 
away that which perhaps you do not care to 
'keep." . - 

The next move in this curious affair was that 
on March 10, 1718, Pope executed a deed by which 
he. settled an annuity of forty pounds a year for 
six years on Teresa, on condition that she should not 
be married during that period.- It has been taken 
for granted by Pope's biographers that he paid the 
annuity out of his pocket, but it is hardly credible 
that a girl of Teresa's social standing would accept 
an allowance from a man who was not related to 
her. It seems much more likely that the annuity 
was paid as interest on some capital that she. had 
invested in one of their joint speculations. 1 In the 
case of her marriage, the arrangement would naturally 
come to an end, since her little fortune would pass 
into the possession of her husband. 

The quarrel resulted in a temporary breach be- 
tween Chiswick and Bolton Street. But the sisters 
must have missed their poetical friend, for it was 
not long before they begged him to resume his " 
visits on the old footing. His answer is full of 
wounded feeling, and there are few letters in his 
correspondence more sincere in tone. 

. " Ladies,' 1 he begins, " pray think me sensible of 
your civility and good meaning in asking me to 
come to you. You will please to consider that my 

* For example, it appears that in 1716 Pope had speculated for 
himself and the Blounts in lottery tickets, which were payable in 



y> / 11 

From an original painting. 


Quarrel with the Blounts 223 

coming or not is a thing indifferent to both of 

you. But God knows it is far otherwise with me in 

respect to one of you, 

" I scarce ever come but one of two things happens, 

which equally affect me to the soul : either I make 

her uneasy, or I see her unkind. 

" If she has any tenderness, I can only give her 

every day trouble and melancholy. If she has none, 

the daily sight of so undeserved a coldness must 

wound me to the quick. 

" It is forcing one of us to do a very hard and 

unjust thing to the other. My continuing to see you 

will, by turns, tease all of us. My staying away can, 

at worst, be of ill consequence only to myself. 

" And if one of us is to be sacrificed, I believe we 

are all three agreed who shall be the person." 

Though the quarrel was soon made up, and Pope 

renewed his friendly relations with the sisters, it is 
probable that he never quite forgave Teresa, and ten 
years later the grudge he bore her burst out into 
open enmity. 

Meanwhile, through all these lovers' squabbles, the 
poet had kept up his gallant correspondence with 
Lady Mary Wortley. In the autumn of 1717 
Mr. Wortley had been recalled from Constantinople, 
though he did not actually return to England till 
October 1718. On hearing the news of the recall, 
Pope wrote to Lady Mary to express his delight 
that fortune was about to return to her friends the 
most precious thing of which it had ever robbed 
them. In fact, her presence would be the only 
equivalent for Mr. Pitt's famous diamond, which 
had just been bought for the young King of France. 

22 4 Mr. Pope 

Pope had commissioned Lady Mary to bring over 
a fair Circassian slave, who was to resemble her 
ladyship as nearly as possible, though with the 
colours a little less vivid, and the eyes a little less 
bright ; otherwise, instead of being her master, he 
would only be her slave. He was eager to know 
whether the Wortleys intended coming home through 
Italy,, for in that case he would meet them there, 
and travel back with them. "Allow me but to 
sneak after you in your train, -to fill my pockets 
with coins, or to lug an old -busto behind you, and I 
shall be proud beyond expression. Let people think, 
if they will, that I did all this for the pleasure of 
treading on classic ground; I would whisper other 
reasons in your ear." 

. In the spring of 17 1 8 Pope suffered from one of 
his periodical attacks of severe illness. In a brief 
letter to Lady Mary he explains that, in writing to 
her, he is disobeying a despotic doctor probably 
Arbuthnot who has ordered him to * think but 
slightly of anything. He is practising whether he 
can so think of her, for then he might look upon 
the sun as a spangle and the world as a walnut; " I 
cannot express to you,' 1 he continues, with an ardour 
,that may have been heightened by his annoyance 
with the Blounts, " how I long to see you face to 
face ; if ever you come again I shall never be able 
to behave with decency : I shall walk, look, and talk 
at such a rate that all the town must know I have 
seen something more than human. Come, for God's 
sake, come, Lady Mary ; come quickly ! " 

In 'July Pope accepted the invitation of Lord 
Harcourt to spend a quiet month at an old house at 

Stanton Harcourt 

Stanton Harcourt, 1 in Oxfordshire, where he hoped 
to recruit his health and finish the fifth volume of 
Homer. By what he called a coup de maitre, he 
persuaded his -old mother to accompany him to 
Stanton Harcourt. For the latter part of the summer 
Lord Bathurst put his splendid house at Ciren- 
cester at the poet's disposal, as he himself was unable 
to come down before Michaelmas. Meanwhile, the 
Miss Blounts were awaiting their annual summer 
invitation to East Grinstead, where Pope usually 
contrived to join them. But by August 6 the 
invitation had not arrived, and Pope wrote to Patty 
from Stanton Harcourt : 

" I would give the world if you had the courage, 
both of you, to pass the fortnight in and about my 
wood [at Cirencester], I would secure you of a 
good house, within an hour of it, and a daily enter- 
tainment in it. I go thither very speedily. I am 
sure of your sister, at least, that she would do this, 
or anything else, if she had a mind to it. ... My 
mother, Gay, and I will meet you, and show you 
Blenheim by the way. I dare believe Mrs. Blount 
would not stick out at my request. And so, damn 
Grinstead and all its works." 

This same letter contains a long and picturesque 
account of the melancholy fate of two rustic lovers 
who were killed by lightning during Pope's stay at 
Stanton Harcourt. So powerfully did the incident 
impress the poet's mind that he sent versions of the 

1 The house, which was near Lord Harcourt's place at Cole- 
thorpe, was a half-furnished, ramshackle old place. Pope wrote 
a semi-fictitious account of it to Lady Mary Wortley, in a style 
evidently modelled upon some of Addison's papers in The Spec- 

VOL. I 15 

226 Mr. Pope 

same story to several of his friends, including Lady 
Mary Wortley, Caryll, Lord Bathurst, and Atterbury. 
On the last day of July so the story runs- 
two -young lovers, John Hewet and Sarah Drew, 
were working in the harvest-field l when a great 
storm broke. John raked together some sheaves of 
wheat, behind which the lovers crouched for pro- 
tection.' Presently there came so loud a crack that 
heaven itself seemed rent asunder. As soon as the 
first terror was over the labourers shouted to one 
another, and those that were nearest the lovers, 
hearing no sound, went to the place where they lay. 
"They first saw a little smoke, and after, ''this 
faithful pair ; John with one arm about his Sarah's 
neck, and the other held over her face as if to screen 
her from the lightning. They were struck dead, and 
already grown stiff and cold in this tender posture/' 
. The village people thought that this sudden death 
must be a judgment for sin, and were ready to 
rise against the minister for allowing the couple 
Christian burial in one grave. Pope thereupon per- 
suaded Lord . Harcourt to erect a. little monument 
over the lovers, and himself wrote a couple of 
epitaphs. 2 The first 'was considered- too' recondite 

1 In the account sent to Lady Mary the lovers were haymakers, 
who sheltered behind haycocks. As the incident is reported as 
having taken place on the last day of July, it might be thought 
that the " haysel " would be over and the harvest not yet begun. 
* The two epitaphs are subjoined : 


When Eastern lovers feed the funeral fire, 
On the same pile the faithful fair expire ; 
Here pitying Heaven that virtue mutual found, 
And blasted both, that it might neither wound. 
Hearts so sincere th* Almighty saw well pleased,- 
/>' Sent His own lightning, and the victims seized. 

Fate of the Rustic Lovers 227 "> 

for the country people, and the second, the 
"religious" one, was adopted. Truth to say, 
neither is an inspired piece of work, and perhaps it 
was the ornate* manner in which the incident was 
recounted and the bald platitudes of the accompany-* 
ing verses that moved Lady Mary to merriment and 
parody in her letter of acknowledgment. Pope had 
pompously assured her that ci the greatest honour 
people of this low degree could have was to be 
remembered on a little monument ; unless you will 
give them another that of being honoured with a" 
tear from the finest eyes in the world. I know you 
have tenderness ; you must have it ; it is the very 
emanation of good sense and virtue ; the finest minds, 
like the finest metals, dissolve the readiest." I 

Lady Mary was in a capricious mood when she 
sat down to, answer this letter. Having no illusions 
about hay-makers or their methods of courtship, she 
tore away the web of sentiment that the poet had 
woven around the rustic tragedy. She did not 
imagine that the lovers were either wiser or more 
virtuous than their neighbours. Nor did she 
suppose for a moment that their sudden death was 
a reward of their mutual virtue, as Pope suggested 


Think not, by rigorous judgment seized, 
A pair so- faithful could expire ; 
Victims so pure Heaven saw well pleased, 
And snatched them in celestial fire. 

Live well, and fear no sudden fate. 

When God calls virtue to the grave 
Alike His justice soon or late : 

Mercy alike to kill or save. 
Virtue unmoved can hear the call, 
And face the flash that melts the ball 

" 8 Mr. Pope 

in his epitaph. Her own mock-epitaph is a scathing 
satire upon the sentimental vapourings of Pope, and 
is certainly better worth printing than his own 
effusions : 

Here lie John Hughes 3 and Sarah Drew ; 

Perhaps you'll say, what's that to you? 

Believe me, friend, much may be said 
, On that poor couple that are dead. 

On Sunday next they should have married : 

But see how oddly things are carried ; 

On Thursday last it rained-and lightened, 
. These tender lovers, sadly frightened, 

Sheltered beneath the cocking hay 

In hopes to pass the time away. 

But the bold thunder found them out 

(Commissioned for that end, no doubt), 
i And, seizing on their trembling breath, 

Consigned them to the shades of death. 

Who knows if 'twas not kindly done ? 

For, had they seen the next year's sun, 

A beaten wife and cuckold swain 

Had jointly cursed the marriage chain. 

Now they are happy in their doom, 

For Pope has wrote upon their tomb. 

At Stanton Harcourt Pope finished his fifth volume 
of Homer, as was recorded on a window-pane of 
the room in which he worked. He was' now near- 
ing the ^end of his gigantic task, and found, to his 
satisfaction, " that daring, work less and less censured, 
and the last volumes generally allowed to be better 
done than the former, which yet no way raises my 
vanity, since it is only allowing me not to grow 
worse and worse. 1 ' 

On October 8 Pope was enjoying what he calls 

1 Lady Mary has altered the name of the hero, in order to make 
her line scan. 


At Clrenccster 229 

his "bower" in Oakley Wood, Cirencester, and the 
company of Lord Bathurst 1 and Gay. In a letter 
to the Blounts he gives a rosy account of his sur- 
roundings and mode of life. 

"I write an hour or two every morning, then ride 
out a-hunting upon the Downs, eat heartily, talk 
tender sentiments with Lord Bathurst, or draw plans 
for houses and gardens, open avenues, cut glades, 
plant firs, contrive water-works all very fine and 
beautiful in our imagination. At night we play at 
commerce, and play pretty high. I do more : I bet 
too ; for I am really rich, and must throw away my 
money, if no deserving friend will use it. I like this 
course of life so well that I am resolved to stay here 
till I hear of somebody's being in town that is worth 
coming after." 

1 Allen, Lord Bathurst (1684-1775), was a pleasant companion 
and an ideal host. He was one of the dozen Peace peers, created 
in 1711,10 form a Tory majority in the House of Lords. He made 
no great figure in politics, but enjoyed life, and helped his friends 
and guests to do the same. Lord Lansdowne said of him (in a 
letter to Mrs. Pendarves) : "Lord Bathurst can best describe to 
you the ineffable joys of that country where happiness only reigns. 
He is a native of it." Bathurst had a strong constitution and 
abounding vitality. In his old age Sterne said of him: "This 
nobleman is a prodigy for at. eighty-five he has all the wit and 
promptness of a man of thirty. A disposition to be pleased, and 
the power to please others beyond whatever I knew, added to 
which a man of learning, courtesy, and feeling." Sterne also 
relates the following story of him : "About two years before his 
death, having some friends with him at his country-seat, and 
being loth to part with them one night, his son, the Lord Chan- 
cellor, objected to sitting up any longer, and left the room.. As 
soon as he was gone the lively old peer said, ' Come, my good 
friends, since the old gentleman is gone to bed, I think we may 
venture to crack another bottle. 1 " 


Move to Twickenham Relations with Lady 
'Mary Wortley Montagu Theories of 

AWSON'S New Buildings was but a shabby 
address for a celebrated poet, and in the 
spring of this year Pope thought of building himself 
a house in or near London. But from this project 
he was dissuaded by his friends, more especially by 
Lord Bathurst, who warned him that saws and 
hammers, besides making a good deal of noise 
possessed a curious trick of melting gold and silver. 
Finally, the poet contented himself with renting a 
small house at Twickenham, with five acres of land, 
which he proceeded to beautify in accordance with 
his own artistic taste. The house was pleasantly 
situated on the banks of the river, and the village of 
Twickenham was then the most fashionable country 
retreat within easy reach of London. 

i Pope intended to add to the house, but, fortunately 
for his purse, he never got beyond scribbling plans on 
the backs of envelopes. He found endless amuse- 
ment, however, in laying out his grounds. His 
taste and knowledge, more especially with regard to 

i 230 

,-; 1 ! 

J < 




Move to Twickenham 231 

effects of light and shade, distance and grouping, 
were in advance of his time, and his advice was 
sought by the great men of his acquaintance who 
were engaged * in lc improving " their own places, 
such as Lord Burlington, Lord Bathurst, and Lord 
Oxford, 1 

As early as 1713 Pope had written an article on 
Gardening in The Guardian, and now, for the first 
time, he had a free hand in putting his theories 
into practice. The formal style of gardening had 
fallen out of favour, and the stately pleasaunces, 
with their pleached alleys, yew-hedges and walled 
enclosures, were being " stubbed up " by the new 
school of "nature," or landscape gardeners, led 
by Kent and Bridgman. Though there were but 
" ten sticks " in the garden when he took the place, 
Pope " twisted and twirled and rhymed and har- 
monised it till it appeared two or three sweet little 
lawns, opening and opening beyond one another, and 
the whole surrounded with impenetrable woods." 2 
Before he had finished with it the garden boasted, 
besides the famous Grotto, one large mount, two 

1 The charges against Lord Oxford had been dismissed, and he 
was released in 1717. He continued to attend the House of 
Lords, though he was excepted from the Act of Grace, and 
forbidden to appear at -Court. 

1 Horace Walpole. After Pope's death Sir William Stanhope 
bought the villa. In 1760, to quote Walpole again, "He hacked 
and hewed these groves, wriggling a winding gravel walk through 
them with an edging of shrubs, in what they call the modern taste, 
and, in short, has desired the three lanes to walk in again and 
now is forced to shut them out again by a wall, for there was not a 
Muse could walk there but she was spied by every country fellow 
that went by with a pipe in his mouth." In 1807 the villa became 
the property of Lady Howe, who pulled it down and built another 
house a hundred yards away. 

Mr. Pope 

small mounts, a quincunx, an obelisk, a shell temple, 
a wilderness, a grove, an orangery, and a garden 
house ! 

cc The history of my transplantation and settle- 
ment, which you desire," wrote Pope to Jervas, who 
was still in Ireland, " would require a volume, were 
I to enumerate the many projects, difficulties, 
vicissitudes, and various fates attending that important 
part of my life : much more, should I describe the 
many draughts, elevations, profiles, perspective, etc., 
of every palace and garden proposed, intended, and 
happily raised, by the strength of that faculty whprein 
all great geniuses excel imagination. At last, the 
gods and fates have fixed me on the borders of the 
Thames, in the districts of Richmond and Twicken- 
ham. It is here I hope to receive you, sir, returned 
from eternising the Ireland of this age. For you 
my structures rise ; for you my colonnades extend . 
their wings ; for you my groves aspire, and roses 
bloom. ... I cannot express how I long to renew 
our old intercourse and conversation,-our morning 
conferences iri bed in the same room, our evening 
walks in the park, our amusing voyages on the water, 
our philosophical suppers, our lectures, our disserta- 
tions, our gravities, our reveries, our fooleries, or 
what not. This awakens the memories of those 
who have made a part in all these poor Parnell, 
Garth, Rowe ! " l 

At this time Pope was engaged in editing Parnell's 

"Remains and writing aft epitaph for Rowe's 

monument in Westminster Abbey. Next to Parnell 

and Rowe, Sir Samuel Garth, the best-natured of 

1 Parnell and Rowe had died in 1718, Garth in 1719. 




Relations with Lady 1VL W Montagu 233 

men, had left Pope the truest concern for his loss. 
''His death was very heroical, and yet unaffected 
enough to have made a saint .or philosopher famous. 
But ill tongues'and worse hearts have treated his last 
moments as wrongfully as they did his life, with 
irreligion. You must have heard many tales on the 
subject; but, if 'ever there was a good Christian, 
without knowing himself to be so, it was Dr. Garth." 1 
In the summer of this year Pope was hoiise-hunt- 
ing at Twickenham for the Wortley Montagus. He 
discovered a villa belonging to Sir Godfrey Kneller 
which he thought would suit his friends, and there 
is a quaint letter on the subject from the painter, 
whose spelling was almost on a par with that of 
Mrs. Pope. Though an artist, he seems to have 
been a fairly keen hand at a- bargain. Thus, on June 
19, he writes to Pope : 

"I am in towne, and have loucked for beds 
and bedsteads which must cost ten pounds a year. 
When 1 promised to provide them, you had maid 
no mention of the towne rates, which I am to pay, 
and will be 5- pounds a year- at least, and which 
would be 15 pounds per annum with the beds; 
and that house did let for 45 a year when I bought 
it ; so that all I have laid out being near 400 pound, 
would be done for nothing, of which you will con- 
sider and let me know your mind. . . ." 

The writer concludes by sending his respects to 
"my Lady Mery Whortley." 

1 The best good Christian he, although he knows it not. 

farewell to London. 

2 34 Mr. Pope 

_ The simple-minded Sir Godfrey was a character 
m his wayignorant, incredibly vain, and something 
of a butt to Pope and his friends. There is one 
letter from the poet to the painter which, consider- 
ing Kneller's epistolary style; reads like an elaborate 
piece of sarcasm draped 'with a transparent veil of 
flattery. That Kneller would swallow anything 
Pope, must have been aware when he thanked him 
for the pleasure of his letter, which convinces me 
that, whatever another wise man can be, a wise and 
great painter, at least, can be above the stars when 
he pleases. The .elevation of such a genius is not 
to be measured by the object it flies at : it soars far 
higher than its aim, and carries up the subject along 
with it. ... I thought to compliment upon paper 
had been left to poets and lovers. . Dryden says he 
has seen a fool think in your picture of him. And 
I have reason to say I have seen the least of man- 
kind appear one of the greatest under your hands." 

Pope had arranged that Kneller should paint Lady 
Mary's portrait, 1 and the picture, he assures the 
lady, dwells very near his heart, since he much pre- 
ferred her present face to her past. "I know 
and thoroughly esteem yourself of this year," he 
explains. I know no more of Lady Mary Pierre- 
pont than to admire what I have heard of her, or 
be pleased with some fragments of hers, as I am ' 
with Sappho's. But now I cannot say what I would 
say -of you now. Only still give me cause to say 

1 Pope always alludes to the portrait as if it were commissioned 
for. himself ; but, whether it were painted for him or for Mr 
Wortley, it eventually passed into the possession of Lady Mary's 
son-in-law, Lord Bute. 


Relations with Lady ML W* Montagu 235 

you are good to me, and allow me as much of 
your person as Sir Godfrey can help me to." 

In order to give the lady as little trouble as 
possible, Sir Godfrey had arranged to draw her 
face with crayons, and finish it at her own house 
in a morning, afterwards transferring it to canvas. 
"This, I must observe," continues Pope, "is a 
manner in which they seldom draw any but crowned 
heads; and I observe it with secret pride and 

There is quite a lover-like ring about one or two 
brief notes which may be attributed to the same 
period. For example : 

" It is not in my power [dear madam] to say what 
agitation the two or three words I wrote to you the 
other morning have given me. Indeed, I truly 
esteem. you, and put my trust in you. I can say no 
more, and you would not have me." 

Another billet-doux informs the lady that Sir 
Godfrey has come to town, and will wait on her in the 
morning. " He is really very good to me," it con- 
cludes.; " I heartily wish you will be so too. But I 
submit to you" in all things ; nay, in the manner of 
all things : your own pleasure and your own time. 
Upon my word, I will take yours, and understand 
you as you would be understood, with a real respect 
and resignation when you deny me anything, and a 
hearty gratitude when you grant me anything. 
Your will be done ! but God send it may be the 
same with mine." 

This may have been only an elaborate game ; yet 
it seems not improbable that Pope was trying, by 
means of this pseudo-intrigue, to heal the wound 

Mr. Pope 

that had been inflicted upon his heart or vanity by 
the.Blounts. Nothing could have afforded him 
keener delight and gratification than to have it 
believed that he was au mieux with one of the most 
brilliant beauties of the day. This would indeed 
have been a triumph over the two country girls, who 
had made use of him, flouted his overtures, and 
treated him as though he were fit for nothing better 
than humdrum friendship. 

In spite of his love-troubles, his ill health, 1 and 
his increasing boredom with Homer, Pope found 
strength and leisure to devote to the improvement 
of his new domain. He was so enchanted with his 
surroundings that he could not tear himself away for 
his usual tour of country houses. In September he 
was still at Twickenham, taking part in a consultation 
about the gardens of a house at Richmond which 
had been taken by the Prince of Wales. In a letter 
to Lord Bathurst he gives an amusing account of 
the various opinions enunciated by various experts 
m the course of the discussion. One declared that 
he would not have too much art in the design, for 
he considered that gardening was only sweeping 
nature. Another thought that gravel walks were 
not in good taste; a third insisted that there should 
not be one lime-tree in the whole plantation; a 

u t , f illness in the autumn of thi * y^r. 

Martha Blount (on October 30) that he is bein/sub- 
m.ttedw a very odd course of treatment for a violent pain in his 
side : I mean a course of brickbats and tiles, which they apply to ' 
me p,pmg hot, morning and night ; and sure it is very satisfactory . i 

verv n h rf M VC K a ; ChitCCtUre at his hea " < be built round in his ' 

very bed My body may properly at this time be called a hunmn 



uu ly Caroline W.itson urtcr u |Miiuinc by Sir Clodfrey Knt-Utr. 


111 Theories of Gardening 237 

fourth would exclude horse-chestnuts, which he said 
were not trees but weeds ; while Dutch elms were 
condemned by a fifth. There were some who could 
not bear evergreens, and called them " nevergreens," 
and others who disliked them only when they were 
cut into shapes, by what they described as " evergreen 
tailors/' l " These, my lord/' concludes Pope, " are 
our men of taste, who pretend to prove it by tasting 
little or nothing. We have the same sort of critics 
in poetry ; one is fond of nothing but heroics, 
another cannot relish tragedies, another hates 
pastorals ; all little wits delight in epigrams." 

Even in mid-winter Twickenham still held its 
own as an earthly paradise. Pope declared that no 
place could be more delightful at that time of year. 
The situation was so airy and yet so warm that he 
thought himself in a kind of heaven, where the 
prospect was boundless and the sun his near neigh- 
bour. In a letter of invitation to his friend Broome, 
then newly married, Pope enlarges on the enchanted 
. bowers, silver stream, opening avenues, rising mounts, 
and painted grottoes that are to delight the eyes of 
his guests. Broome is further enticed by a fancy 
sketch of the ease, the quiet, the contentment of 
soul and repose of body which he will feel when 
stretched in an elbow-chair, mum for his breakfast, 
chine and potatoes for dinner, and a dose of burnt 
wine to induce slumber ; and all this without one 
sermon to preach, or any family duty to pay ! 

1 In his article on gardening in The Guardian (September 29, 
17*13) Pope had given a jesting description of an eminent cook 
who beautified his country seat with a coronation dinner in greens, 
" where you see the Champion flourishing on horseback at one 
end of the table, and the Queen in perpetual youth at the other." 



The End of the " Iliad "Gay's Welcome from 
' Greece Criticisms 111 Health and Low 

year 1720 saw the completion of the trans- 
lation of the "Iliad. 11 The fifth and sixth 
volumes were issued to subscribers on May 12, and 
the whole work was dedicated, not to any noble 
patron, but to Congreve, who was a persona grata 
with both parties. Pope had long been looking 
forward to what he described as his deliverance from 
poetry and slavery, and, after the conclusion of his 
labours, declared his intention of retiring a miles 
emeritus. He pitied the poor poets who were to 
succeed him, and, if his gains were sufficient, he 
would gladly found a hospital, like that of Chelsea, 
for such of his tribe as were disabled in the Muses' 
service, or whose years required a dismissal from 
the unnatural task of rhyming themselves and others 
to death. 

The completion of the work was hailed with 
another chorus of praise from friends, admirers, and 
the public generally. Gay celebrated the event with 
a spirited poem called " Mr. Pope's Welcome from 


The End of the " Iliad ' 239 

Greece. A copy of verses written by Mr. Gay 
upon Mr. Pope's having finished his translation of 
Homer's i Iliad/ " l A few stanzas may be quoted, 
since they will "serve to show the extent and variety 
of Pope's acquaintance at this time. 

The chronicler imagines that the poet has long 
been absent from his native land, seeking adventures 
in Homer's country. His six years' labours being 
at an end, he has set sail for England, and as his 
ship passes up the Thames bonfires blaze and bones 
and cleavers ring. As he nears " proud London's 
spires, 1 ' a huge concourse of goodly dames and cour- 
teous knights swarms down to the quay, and the sky 
re-echoes to shouts of joy. The bard continues : 

What lady's that to whom he gently bends ? 

Who knows her not ? Ah, those are Wortley's eyes. 
How art thou honoured, numbered with her friends, 

For she distinguishes the good and wise, 
The sweet-tongued Murray 2 near her side attends : 

Now to my heart the glance of Howard 3 flies j 
Now Hervey, fair of face, 4 1 mark full well 
With thee, youth's youngest daughter, sweet Lepell.* 

1 The original draft, which is in the British Museum, bears the 
following title : "Alexander Pope, his Safe Return from Troy. A 
Congratulatory Poem on his completing his Translation of Homer's 
1 Iliad.' In the manner of the beginning of the last canto of 

1 Grizel Baillie, who was married to Alexander Murray, of 
Stanhope. She was a pretty woman and a charming singer of 
old Scotch ballads. Mrs. Murray and Lady Mary Wortley were 
intimate friends at this time, but they quarrelled a couple of years 

* Mrs. Howard, afterwards Lady Suffolk. 

* John, Lord Hervey. 

4 Molly Lepell was married to Lord Rcrvey at this time, 
though the marriage was not announced till October. 

Mr* Pope 

I see two lovely sisters, hand in hand, 

The fair-haired Martha and Teresa br.own ; 

Madge Bellenden, 1 the tallest of the land; 
And smiling Mary, 3 soft and fair as dpwn. 

Yonder I see the cheerful duchess 3 stand, 

For friendship, zeal, and blithesome humours known. 

Whence that loud shout in such a hearty strain ? 

Why, all the Hamiltons are in her train. 

h a See next the decent Scudamore * advance 

I/I, ;' With Winchelsea 6 still meditating song, 

1:1. . v Wit k her Miss Howe 8 came there by chance, 

Nor knows with whom, nor why she comes along. 
Far off fro these see Santlow 7 famed for dance, 
jr/j . ' '. I And fr lick Bicknell, 8 and her sister young, 

With other names by me not to be named, 
Much loved in private, not in public famed. . ' 

After the female band retires, the singer imagines 
| i that he sees femous Buckingham " who knows to 

strike the living lyre," and impetuous Bathurst, 
cc whom you and i strive whom shall love the most/ 1 


l Elder daughter of Lord B'ellenden. 

* Younger sister of Margaret, and one of the most beautiful 
of the maids-of-honour, She married Colonel Campbell, who 
became Duke of Argyll in 1761. 

* The Duchess of Hamilton, whose husband had been killed in 
the duel with Lord Mohun in 1712. 

4 wife of Viscount Scudamore. She was a daughter of Simon, 
Lord Digby. 

* The literary Lady Winchelsea, of whom mention has already 
been made. 

8 Sophia Howe, one of the flightiest of the maids-of-honour. 

7 Mrs. Santlow is described as a beautiful woman, a pleasing 
actress, and an admirable dancer. She is said to have been 
mistress to the great Duke of Marlborough. In the autumn of 
this year she married Booth the actor. 

8 Mrs. Bicknell was a clever comedy actress, who had played 
in The What-dye-cal?t? and Three Hours after Marriage. 
Her sister was known as Miss Younger. 

Ga/s Welcome from Greece 

See generous Burlington with goodly Bruce, 1 

(But Bruce comes wafted in a soft sedan), 
Dan Prior 3 next, beloved by every muse, 

And friendly Congreve, unreproachful man ! 
(Oxford by Cunningham 3 hath sent excuse): 

See hearty Watkins 4 comes with cup and can, 
And Lewis, 5 who has never friend forsaken ; 
And Laughton 8 whispering, asksIs Troy town taken? 

Bold Warwick 7 comes, of free and honest mind \ 

Bold, generous Craggs, 8 whose heart was. ne'er disguised ; 

Ah why, sweet St. John, 8 cannot I thee find? 
St. John for every social virtue prized 

Alas.! to foreign climates he's confined, 
Or else to see thee here I well surmised : 

Thou, too, my Swift, dost breathe Boeotian air, 

When wilt thou bring back wit and humour here? 

Harcourt 10 I see, for eloquence renowned, 

The mouth of justice, oracle of law ! 
Another Simon is beside him found, 

Another Simon like as straw to straw. 

1 Lord Bruce, afterwards Earl of Aylesbury. He had married 
a sister of Lord Burlington. 

* Matthew Prior, the poet. He died at his patron Lord Oxford's 
house in the following year. 

1 Alexander Cunningham, M.P. for Renfrewshire. 

4 Henry Watkins. He had- been Secretary to the Dutch 
Embassy, He was a favourite with Bolingbroke. 

1 Erasmus Lewis, Secretary to Lord Oxford. He corresponded 
with Swift, and arranged for the publication of " Gulliver's 

e Possibly John Lawton, who was married to a sister of Lord 

1 The young Earl of Warwick, son of the Countess who married 
Addison. He died the following year. 

8 James Craggs, the Secretary of State. He died the following 

tt Lord Bolingbroke. 

10 Simon, created Viscount Harcourt in 1711. He was made 
Lord Chancellor in 1712. His son Simon died this year. 
VOL. I l6 

4 2 42 Mr. Pope 

' ' ' 

, . . 

How Lansdowne l smiles with lasting laurel crowned ! 

Wilat mi tred prelate there commands our awe ? 
See Rochester 3 approving .nods the head, 
And ranks one modern with the mighty dead. 

* Carlton 8 and Chandos * thy arrival grace; 

, Hanmer, 5 whose eloquence the unbiassed sways ; 

Harley, e whose goodness opens in his face, 
: " And shows his heart the seat where virtue stays. 
Ned Blount 7 advances next with hasty pace, 

In haste, yet sauntering, hearty in his ways, 
* see the fri endly Carylls 8 come by dozens, 

* Their wives their uncles, daughters, sons, and cousins. 

* ' 

Arbuthnot there I see, in physic's art 
As Galen learned, or famed Hippocrate ; 

Whose company drives sorrow from the heart, 
^ A S a ^ disease his medicines dissipate : 

Kneller amid the triumph bears his part, 
Who could (were mankind lost) anew create. 

What can th' extent of his vast soul confine? 

A painter, critic, engineer, divine ! 9 

Thee Jervas hails, robust and debonair, 

" Now have we conquered Homer, friends," he cries ; 

' Pope's poetical friend, George Granville, Lord'Lansdowne. 

' Bishop Atterbury. 

> Henry Boyle, Lord Carlton. There is an allusion to Carlton's 
calm sense m the " Epilogue to the Satires." 

4 The princely Duke of Chandos, who was supposed to be the 
original of Timon, in the Fourth Moral Essay. 
* Sir Thomas Hanmer, Speaker in the House of Commons in 
the last Parliament of Queen Anne. 

6 Lord Harley, afterwards second Earl of Oxford. 

7 Pope's early correspondent, Edward Blount, of Blagdon. 
John Caryll had persuaded a number of his relations and 

mends to subscribe for the " Iliad." 

* The praise of Kneller was partly ironical 


Gay's Welcome from Greece 243 

Dartneuf, 1 gay joker, joyous Ford, 3 is there, 

And wondering Maine, so fat with' laughing eyes 
(Gay, Maine, and Cheney, 3 boon companions dear ; 
-. Gay fat, Maine fatter, Cheyney huge of size). 
Yea, Dennis, Gildon (hearing thou hast riches), 
And honest, hatless Cromwell, with red breeches. 

Yonder, I see among th 1 expecting crowd 

Evans, 4 with laugh jocose, and tragic Young ; * 
High-buskined Booth, 6 grave Mawbert, 7 wandering Frowde, 8 

And Titcombe's belly waddles slow along. 
See Digby 9 faints at Southerne talking loud. 

Yea, Steele and Tickell mingle in the throng, 

Tickell, whose skiff (in partnership, they say) . . 

Set forth for Greece, but foundered on the way. 

1 Charles Dartneuf, Paymaster of the Board of Works, whose 
epicurean tastes were satirised by Pope in the "First Imitation 
of Horace." 

Each mortal has his pleasure ; none deny 
1 Scarsdale his bottle, Darty his ham-pie. 

* Charles Ford, an Irishman, and a great favourite of Swift, 

with whom he corresponded regularly. . 

4 Dr. George Cheyne, the popular Bath physician, who was a 
specialist on diet. 

4 Dr. Abel Evans, of St. John's College, Oxford. He was 
famous for his epigrams : 

Songs, sonnets, epigrams, the winds uplift, 

And whisk 'em back to Evans, Young, and Swift. 

The Duiuiad. 

* Dr. Edward Young, the poet and dramatist. 

* Barton Booth, the tragedian. 

7 Janies Francis Mawbert, a portrait-painter. He copied the 
portraits of all the English poets he could find, while Dryden, 
Wycherly, Congreve, and Pope sat to him. 

* Philip Frowde, author of a couple of tragedies. 

Let Jervas gratis paint, and Frowde 
Save threepence and his soul. 

Farewell to London* , , ' . ||j 

* The Hon. Robert Digby, second son of William, Lord Digby. 
He was a chronic invalid, and died in 1726. Pope wrote his 


Mr* Pope 

Lo, the two Doncastles * in Berkshire known ! 

Lo, Bickfprd, 2 Fortescue 3 of Devon land ! 
Lo, Tooker,' Eckershall, 4 Sykes, Rawlinson I 

See hearty Morley 5 take thee by the hand ! 
Ayres, Graham, Buckridge, joy thy voyage done ; 
.. Lo, Stonor, 6 Fenton, Caldvvell, Ward, and Broome;' 
Lo, thousands more, but I want rhyme and room ! 

.How loved, how honoured thou ! Yet be not vain ! 

And sure thou art not, for I hear thee say 
"All this, my friends, I owe to Homer's strain, 

On whose strong pinions I exalt my lay. 
; What from contending cities did he gain ? 

And what rewards his grateful .country pay ? 
None, none was paid why, then, all this for me? 
These honours, Homer, had been just to thee." 

The " Welcome 1 ' is a fine tribute of friendship, but 
the reverse side of the medal must not be ignored. 
Dissentient voices there were, shrill and strident, 
though few. With hysterical vehemence, Dennis 
continued to scream unmeasured abuse of everything 
and anything that his enemy published. In his 
" Remarks upon Mr. Pope's Translation of Homer " 
(Curll, 1717) Dennis had quoted St, Evremond's 
saying that there is no nation where the men have 
more courage, the women -more beauty, and both 

1 Pope's old friends, the Dancastles of Binfield. 

* A Devonshire worthy, one of the Bickfords of Dunsland. 

1 William Fortescue, afterwards Master of the Rolls, who was 
always willing to give Pope legal advice gratis. 

4 James Eckershall, who advised "the poet in his financial 

* "Hearty. Morley 1 * may have been the brother-in-law of Sir 
George Brown, and husband of " Thalestris," the Amazon of " The 
Rape of the Lock," 

6 Probably Thomas Stonor-, of Stonor Park. 

7 Broome and Fenton are mentioned elsewhere. The other 
.names cannot be identified with any exactness. 


sexes more wit than in England, but there is no 
country where good taste is so rare. The people of 
England had chosen for- their favourite a little, 
foolish, abject thing, who had written two farces and 
a comic poem, without one jest in the three. His 
translation of Homer was barbarous, flat, obscure, 
affected, and unnatural, where the original was pure, 
clear, lofty, simple, and unaffected. So far from 
making Homer talk English, he made him talk 
Irish, and Lintot might be said to buy more bears 
and sell more bulls between the Temple gates than 
all the stockjobbers did in 'Change Alley. 1 "The 
Pegasus of the little gentleman is not the steed that 
Homer rode, but a blind, stumbling Kentish post- 
horse, which neither walks, trots, paces, nor runs ; 
but is upon an eternal Canterbury, and often 
stumbles, and often falls/ 1 

Dennis regards this ** popular scribbler " as an 
enemy to " my king, my country, my religion, 
and to that liberty which has been the sole felicity 
of my life." He is at once Whig and Tory, Papist 
and pillar of the Church of England, a writer of 
Guardians and Examiners^ a rhymester without judg- 
ment or reason, and a Jesuitical pretender to truth. 
This barbarous wretch, though perpetually boasting 
of humanity and good-nature, is actually a lurking, 
waylaying coward, a stabber in the dark, and above 
all a traitor-friend, who has betrayed all" mankind. 
He is a professor of the worst religion, which he 
laughs at, while observing the maxim that " no faith 
is to be kept with heretics." 

1 In another place Dennis says that Pope had sent abroad as 
many " bulls " as his namesake, Pope Alexander. 

246 ' Mr. Pope 

Coarse and brutal abuse of this kind should have 
given Pope but little concern, even though there 
might be a grain of truth here and there among the 
rubbish. Perhaps he smarted more under a lighter 

; bit of satire (1719), inscribed and recommended to 
"that little gentleman, of great vanity who has just 
put forth a fourth volume of Homer." In this 

: Pope is described as 

An unfledged author, flushed with praise, 

Sprung from light minds by superficial lays ; 

" Who the gay crowd, with tinkling chimes, " ' 

Has skill to please, and fashionable rhymes. 

After alluding to the evil treatment of Homer 
by " bold Ghapman and dull Ogilby," the satirist 
continues : 

Gay Pope succeeds, and joins his skill with these. 
He smoothes him o'er, and gives him grace and ease, 
And makes him fine the beaux and belles to please. 
Thus is our wit and thus our learning tried !' 
Thus Britons write and thus are qualified ! 

The early part of this year was spent in the quiet 
and retirement necessitated by hard work and ill- 
health. In February Caryll wrote to ask for news 
of the beau-monde and of Parnassus, but Pope, as 
', usual, had none to tell. He had not seen a play for 
twelve months, nor attended any opera or public 
assembly. " I am the common topic of ridicule as a 
country lout ; and if, once a month, I trudge to town 
in a horseman's coat, I am stared at, every question 
I ask, as the most ignorant of all rustics." His 
indisposition has been so great that such an alteration 
had taken place in his constitution as deserved to be 

Ill Health and Low Spirits 247 

called a ruin rather than a revolution, to say nothing 
of a dejection of spirits that had destroyed in him all 
vivacity and cheerfulness. 

About this time it seems to have occurred to 
Teresa Blount that she had treated Pope rather 
badly, and she wrote to ask his forgiveness. 1 That 
he thought himself in a dangerous way may be 
gathered from the tone of his reply : 

" As for forgiveness, I am approaching, I hope, to 
that time and condition in which everybody ought 
to give it, and to ask it of all the world. I sincerely 
do so with regard to you ; and beg pardon also 
for that very fault of which I taxed others my 
vanity, which made me so resenting. 

" We are too apt to resent things too highly, 
till we come to know, by some great misfortune . 
or other, how much we are born to endure ; and 
as for me, you need not suspect of resentment a soul 
which can feel nothing but grief. 

"I desire extremely to see you both again ; yet 
I believe I shall see you 1 no more ; and I sincerely 
hope, as well as think, both of you will be glad of it. 
I therefore wish' you may each of you find all you 
desired I could be, in some one whom you may like 
better to see." 

In another brief note to Teresa we find the poet 
actually acknowledging that he has been in the 
wrong, and expressing himself with a humility which 
was entirely foreign to his nature. ." Nothing," he 
complains, "could be so bitter to a tender mind 
as to displease most where he would (and ought in 

1 This letter is undated, but it is attributed to this, or the 
preceding year. 

Mr. Pope' 

gratitude) to please best. I am faithfully yours : 
unhappy enough to want a great deal of indulgence ; 
but sensible I deserve it less and less from my dis- 
agreeable carriage. I am truly grateful to you for 
pardoning it so often, not able to know when I can 
overcome it, and only able to wish you could bear 
me better." 






The South Sea Bubble 

IN the spring and summer of this year the whole 
nation ran mad over what would now be called 
the South Sea " boom." France had set the fashion 
in bubble companies, dazzled by the showy financial 
methods of John Law, of Lauriston. 1 Law, it will 
be. remembered, had obtained the monopoly of the 
Mississippi trade for a company that had volunteered 
to take over the National Debt of France* This was 
iii 1717, and the company prospered till 1719, when 
its operations were extended, and the stock rapidly 
. increased in value, The Government was relieved 
from the dread of bankruptcy, immense fortunes 
were made or lost and John Law was created 
Controller-General of the finance of France. By 
January 1720, however, the shares had .begun to 
fall, and, though this was attributed to the fact that 
a number of speculators were selling in order to buy 
a new issue, the fall continued, and Law gradually 
lost his hold upon the public, though the Regent 
supported him almost to the last. 

1 John Law (1671-1729) had been imprisoned and sentenced to 
death in 1694 for killing a man in a duel. He escaped from 
prison and fled to France. After the bursting of the Mississippi 
Bubble he was obliged to fly from France. He died in Venice. 


250 Mr; Pope 

An imitation of the Mississippi scheme was 
started in England about the end of 1719, in 
connection with the South Sea Company. The pro- 
jectors of the new monopoly were to take over the 
Government loans and annuities, whereby it- was 
expected that the National Debt would be reduced 
and public credit restored. The scheme was sup- 
ported by the Chancellor of the Exchequer ( Aislabie), 
Lord Sunderland, the two Craggses, and other leading 
Statesmen. Walpole was one* of the few who 
Actively opposed the project ; but he was then out 
.of office, and his remonstrances had no effect. 
! As early as 1716 Pope had bought South Sea 
stock for himself and the Blounts, and had further 
speculated in lottery tickets, payable in annuities. 
Early in March 1720 he wrote to tell Martha -that 
he had borrowed money on their lottery orders in 
order to buy more South Sea stock at 180, and 
expresses his gratification that the shares have since 
risen to 1 84. Later in the month he- wrote to James 
Eckershall, who acted for him in these transactions, 
that he heard such glowing reports of advantages to 
be gained by some project or other in the stocks, 
that his spirit was up with double zeal, arid he could 
not. resist the chance of trying to enrich himself. 
j " I assure you," he continues, " my own keeping 
a coach and six is not more in my head than the 
pleasure I shall take in seeing Mrs. Eckershall in her 
equipage. To be serious, I hope you have sold the 
lottery orders, that the want of ready money may be 
no longer an impediment to our buying in the stock, 
which was very unlucky at the time. . .'. Pray let 
us do something or other which you judge the 

The South Sea Bubble 151 

fairest prospect, I am equal as to what stock, so 
you like it. Let but Fortune favour us, and the 
world will sure admire our prudence. If we fail, 
let's e'en keep" the mishap to ourselves. But 'tis 
ignominious (in this age of hope and golden moun- 
tains) not to venture." 

The stock continued to rise in almost miraculous 
fashion. At the end of April it had risen from 
33 to 3^> anc * about this time Pope replied to 
an inquiry respecting his speculations : 

"The question you ask about the fair ladies* 
gains, and my own, is not easily answered. There is 
no gain till the stock is sold, which neither theirs nor 
mine is. So that, instead of wallowing in money, 
we never wanted more for the uses of life, which is 
a pretty general case with most of the adventurers. . . 
One day we were worth two or three thousand, and 
the next day not above three parts of the sum. For 
my own particular, I have very little in; the ladies 
are much richer than I, but how rich, as you see, 
there is no telling by any certain rule of arithmetic." 

Meanwhile, a number of parasite companies had 
sprung up, and 'Change Alley had become the 
resort of fashion. By the middle of June there 
were over a hundred bubble companies in existence, 
despite a proclamation against such unlicensed 
schemes, and the shares of all were at a premium. 
There were promising schemes for developing the 
national fisheries, for making English china, for 
cleansing the streets and supplying water to the 
metropolis, besides such chimerical projects as dis- 
covering the secret of perpetual motion, casting 
nativities, or extracting butter from beech-nuts, silver 

Mr. Pope 

from lead, and oil from poppies. In May Steele was 
vainly trying to expose the true nature of the gamble 
in his paper, The tteatre, while Swift compared 
'Change Alley to a gulf in the South Seas : 

Subscribers here by thousands float. 

And jostle one another down, 
Each paddling in his leaky boat, 

And here they fish for gold, and drown. 

But no one paid any heed to- the warning voices. 
Poor Gay, who had made a thousand pounds by his 
poems, invested the whole of his little fortune in 
South Sea stock, and at one time found himself 
worth >2,ooo on paper. His friends urged him 
to sell out at least as much as would secure him a 
daily clean shirt and joint of mutton, but he held on 
to the last, and lost his all 

u The London language and conversation is, I 
find, quite changed," wrote Mr. Robert Digby to 
Pope on July 9. " I am pleased with the thoughts 
of seeing nothing but a general good-humour when I 
come to town ; I rejoice in the universal riches I hear 
of, in the thought of their having this effect. They 
tell me you was soon content ; and that ' you cared 
not for such an increase as others wished for you. 
By this account, I judge you the richest man in the 
South Sea, and I congratulate you accordingly." 

On August 7 the South Sea stock touched its 
highest point, 950 ; but by the middle of the month 
the fall had begun a mere accidental " slump," as it 
was supposed. On August 22 Pope wrote to inform 
his neighbour, Lady Mary Wortley, that she might 
depend upon it as a certain gain to buy South Sea 

The South Sea Bubble 253 

stock at the present price, which would assuredly rise 
in some weeks or less. lc I can be as sure of this as 
the nature^ of any such thing will allow, from the 
first and best hands, and therefore have despatched 
the bearer with all speed to you." Unfortunately 
for herself, Lady Mary took this advice, and 
invested not only her own money, but also a sum 
which a French admirer, M. R6mond, had entrusted 
to her, in order that she might speculate on his 
behalf. The rapid fall, which began about the end 
of August, took her and others by surprise ; the 
money was lost, and Rmond, who refused to accept 
his ill fortune, tried .to frighten her into making 
good his losses by threatening to send certain 
indiscreet letters to her husband. She probably 
. confided her trouble to Pope, and it will be seen 
hereafter what use he made of his -knowledge. 

The directors of the South Sea Company helped to 
bring about their own downfall by trying to snuff 
out the unauthorised minor ventures. The pricking 
of these lesser bubbles presumably opened the eyes of 
the public to the real character of the parent company, 
since by the end of September South Sea stock had 
dropped to 175, and ruin was widespread. Pope 
put a good face on the matter, and gave out that he 
had retired with at least a part of his gains, but 
there is no means of knowing whether he was speak- 
ing the truth. He always disliked being pitied, and, 
even if he had lost heavily, as rumour reported, 
he would have done his best to conceal the fact. 1 
Writing to Atterbury on September 23, he says that 

1 See the letter to Eckershall, in which Pope says, "If we fail 
let's e'en keep the mishap to ourselves.' 1 * 

2 54 Mr. Pope 

he has some cause to look upon the bishop as a 

"The fate of the South Sea scheme has, much 
sooner than I expected, verified what you told me. 
Most people thought the time would come, but 
no man prepared for it. . . . Methinks God has 
punished the avaricious, as He often punishes 
sinners, in their own way, in the very sin itself: 
the thirst of gain was their crime ; that crime 
continued became their punishment and ruin. As 
for the few who have the good fortune to remain 
with half what they imagined they had (among 
whom is your humble servant), I would have 'them 
sensible of their felicity, and convinced of the truth 
of old Hesiod's maxim, who, after half his estate 
was swallowed up by the directors of those days, 
resolved that half to be more than the whole" 

Atterbury was of opinion that, had the project 
taken root and flourished, it must in time have 
overturned the constitution. Three or four hundred 
millions was such a weight, that whichever way it 
leaned it must have borne down all before it. 
Moralising on the. subject in a letter to Pope, he 
dwells on the point that should console his friend 
under his ill luck. Had you got all that you have 
lost beyond what you have ventured, consider that 
these superfluous gains would have sprung from the 
rum of several families that now want necessaries ! 
.A thought under which a good and good-natured 
man that grew rich by such means, could not, I 
persuade myself, be easy." 

Pope seized on the moral aspect of the question 
with characteristic avidity. He did not wish it to be 

The South Sea Bubble 255 

thought that he had lost on his venture, because that 
would have given people a low opinion of his 
shrewdness, but he allowed his friends to understand 
that he had made little or nothing, and seemed to 
think that this would almost justify him in posing 
as a philanthropist. Thus, he tells Caryll (October 
28) that he has not been hurt by these times or 
fates, and that the ladies in Bolton Street were still 
gainers, even at the low ebb to which the stock had 

" The vast inundation of the South Sea has 
drowned all except a few unrighteous men, contrary 
to the deluge ; and it is some comfort to me I am 
not one of those, even in my afflictions. It is a 
serious satisfaction to me to reflect that I am not 
the richer for the calamities of others, which, as the 
world goes, must have been the case nine times 
in ten." 

This attitude seems to have been greatly admired 
by Pope's friends, who did not perceive that' he had 
entered into a wild-cat speculation purely with the 
intention of increasing his fortune, and that his 
losses were due not to his own virtue but to the 
fact that he did not sell out in time. Again, if he 
had really retained half of what he thought he had 
won, how could he reflect with satisfaction on the 
fact that he was not the richer for the calamities of 
others ? The plain truth was that Pope had caught 
the Stock Exchange fever, -had speculated and lost ; 
but he desired to pose as the sensible man who had 
contrived to get out of the scrape without material 
damage, and also as the righteous moralist who re- 
fused to benefit himself at the expense of his fellows. 


Mr. Pope 

More honest and more manly was the attitude 
of Gay, who, though, at first so much cast down at 
the loss of his fortune that for a time his life was in 
danger, presently recovered his spirits, and addressed 
* rhymed epistle to his friend Snow, in which he 
ridicules his own folly : 

Why did 'Change Alley waste thy precious hours 
Among the fools who gaped for golden showers ? 
No wonder if we found some poets there, 
Who live on fancy, and can feed* on air ; 
. No wonder they were caught by South Sea schemes, 
Who ne'er enjoyed a guinea but in dreams ; 
No wonder that their third subscriptions sold 
For millions of imaginary gold. 

1 72 1 

"Epistle to James Craggs "Swift's l Manifesto 
Proposed Edition of Shakespeare 
Parnell's " Remains "" Epistle to Lord 

South Sea disaster was followed by many 
* changes, social and political, and the con- 
sequences were far-reaching. Robert Knight, the 
cashier of the company, fled to Belgium ; Aislabie, 
late Chancellor of the Exchequer, was disgraced 
and expelled from the House ; the South Sea 
directors were removed from all public offices ; a 
committee was appointed to inquire into the whole 
matter, and finally Walpole assumed the reins of 
Government. The Prince of Wales, the king's 
mistresses, and other influential persons being in- 
volved in the- Bubble speculations, there were 
difficulties in the way of a full and searching in- 
vestigation, and it was found impossible to bring 
the directors, or the absconding cashier, to justice. 
Among the discredited ministers were the Craggses, 
father and son, the former Postmaster-General, the 
latter Secretary of State. James Craggs the younger, 
who was a neighbour and intimate friend of Pope's, 
VOL. i 257 17 


Mr. Pope 

died of smallpox on February 16, 1721, while his 
father died in a (so-called) lethargic fit on March 16, 
just before the secret committee was to report on 
his case. He was proved to have received a bribe 
.from the South Sea directors of .40,000, and his 
executors were compelled- to refund all the money 
he had made since December i, 1719. 

Pope was deeply affected by the loss of the 
younger Craggs, who had offered him a pension 
.and shown him every favour. The poet, while 
refusing the 'pension, had consented to apply to 
his ministerial friend should he ever be in want 
pf 500. Craggs took a house in Twickenham- 
m the summer of 1720, and asked Pope to find ' 
him a polite scholar," by whose conversation and 
instruction he might improve his defective education. 
Pope recommended his own friend and future 
colleague, Elijah Fenton, 1 for the post, and in 
May 1720 had written to Fenton: 

"I am now commissioned to tell you that Mr. 
Craggs will expect you on the rising of Parliament, 
which will be as soon as he can receive you in the 
manner he would receive a man de belles lettres, 
that is, tranquillity and full leisure. I dare say your 
way of life, which, in my taste, will be the best 
m the world, .and with one of the best men in 
the world, must prove highly to your content- 
ment. And I must add, it will be still the more 
a joy to me, as I shall reap a peculiar advantage 

1 Elijah Fenton (i68 3 - I73 o). He published some poems as 
early as 1707, wrote a fairly successful tragedy, Marianne, pro- 
duced m 1723, and edited Milton and Waller. He is only 
remembered now through his collaboration with Pope in the 
translation of the "Odyssey." 

"Epistle to James Craggs" 259 

from the good I shall have done in bringing you 
together, by seeing it in my own neighbourhood. 
Mr. Craggs has taken a house close by mine, 
whither he proposes to come in three weeks. In 
the meantime 1 heartily invite you to live with me, 
where a frugal and philosophical diet for a time 
may give you a higher relish of that elegant way 
of life you will enter into after." 

The death of Craggs put an end to this arrange- 
ment, and Pope had to mourn one of his truest 
friends. " There never lived a more worthy nature," 
he wrote, " a more disinterested mind, and more 
open and friendly temper, than Mr. Craggs. A 
little time, I doubt not, will clear up a character 
which the world will learn to value and admire 
when it has none such remaining in it." The 
friendship between the minister and the poet is 
commemorated by Pope's brief " Epistle to James 
Craggs," which was written after Craggs was made 
Secretary of State for War in 1717. There seems 
to have been some suggestion that, in consequence 
of his promotion, the Secretary would be ashamed 
of his literary friend. After eulogising honesty and 
candour in the opening lines of the " Epistle," Pope 
exhorts Craggs to 

Scorn to gain a friend by servile ways, 
Nor wish to lose a foe these virtues raise ; 
But candid, free, sincere, as you began, 
Proceed a minister, but still a man. 
Be not (exalted to whate'er degree) 
Ashamed of any friend, not ev'n of me : 
The patriot's plain, but untrod.path, pursue ; 
If not, 'tis I must be ashamed of you. 

260 Mr. Pope 

There is, a gap in the correspondence between 

Pope and Swift extending from 1716 to 1721. On 

January 10, 1721, the dean addressed a long letter, 

or more properly manifesto, to his friend, which 

Pope said that he never received, and it is possible rf 

: that it was never sent. At this time Swift was 1 

bitterly discontented with his position in Dublin, 

and heartily sick of his retirement. His domestic 

affairs had been embroiled by the presence in Ireland 

of poor " Vanessa," x and the consequent jealousy of 

Stella. Further, he had got into trouble with the 

authorities over his "Proposal for the use of Irish 

; Manufactures," published in 1720. In his letter to 

Tope, Swift describes his former relations with the 

Whigs and Tories, his endeavour to serve his 

country, and the persecutions to which he had been 

.subjected, and gives a resume of his political creed. 

He seems to have desired that the letter should 

be made public in -England, either through the 

medium of print, or by being shown to influential 

persons of the dominant party. It is evident that 

he had not yet abandoned the hope of being recalled, 

and again allowed to have a finger in the political 

pie, and this apologia may have been intended to 

clear the way for the desired rapprochement. A few 

points from the document are worth quoting. Swift 

reminds his friend that he left town about- ten weeks 

before the queen's death, and retired into Berkshire. 

Almost directly after the downfall of his Tory 

friends he had returned to Ireland, where he had 

ever since remained in the utmost privacy. 

; ' Esther Vanhomrigh, who had followed Swift to Ireland, and 
died there in 1723. . 

" I neither know the names nor numbers of the 
royal .family which now reigns, further than the 
Prayer-book informs me, I cannot tell who is 
Chancellor, who are Secretaries, nor with what 
nations we are at peace or war." He admits that 
he had written some memorials of the last four 
years of Queen Anne's reign, as necessary materials 
to qualify himself for the office of Historiographer, 
which was then designed for him. But as it was 
at the disposal of a person (the Duke of Shrewsbury) 
who was lacking in steadiness and sincerity, he had 
disdained to accept of it. 1 These papers he had 
been digesting into order, one sheet at a time, not 
daring to venture any further lest the humour of 
searching and seizing papers should revive. 

" I have written in this kingdom," he continues, 
"a discourse to persuade the wretched people to 
wear their own manufactures instead of those from 
England. This treatise soon spread very fast, being 
agreeable to the sentiments of the whole nation, 
except of those gentlemen, who had employments, 
or were expectants ; upon which a person in great 
office here immediately took the alarm." 2 

Swift explains that he formerly delivered his 
thoughts very freely, but never affected to be a 

1 This is inaccurate. Swift continued to solicit the office until 
it was filled up, although he knew that it was at the disposal of 
the Duke of Shrewsbury. 

1 This was Lord Chancellor Middleton. He directed the Chief 
Justice to proceed against the printer. The jury brought him in 
not guilty, but the judge sent them back nine times, till, wearied 
out, they left the matter to the mercy of the judge, by a special 
verdict. But the trial of the verdict was postponed from one 
term till another till at last the Duke of Grafton, Lord- Lieutenant 
by Swift's interest, granted a noliproseqiti. 


262 Mr. Pope 

councillor "I was humbled enough to see myself 
so far outdone by the Earl of Oxford in my own 
trade as a scholar, and too good a courtier not to 
discover his contempt of those who would be men 
of importance out of their own sphere. Besides 
to say the truth, although I have known many 
great ministers ready enough to hear opinions, yet . 
J- nave hardly seen one that would ever condescend 
to take advice." 

. Whatever opportunities his- four years' attendance 
on the Tories had given him, Swift declares that 
ne ought to find quarter from the other party 
for many of whom he was a constant advocate! 
Lord Oxford would bear witness how often he 
(bwift) had pressed him in favour of Addison 
Congreve, Rowe, and Steele. Indeed, it was a 
subject of raillery among the ministers that he 
never came to them without a Whig in his sleeve. 
, f "I would infer from all this, that it is with great 
injustice I have this many years been pelted by 
your pamphleteers, merely upon account of some 
regard which the "queen's last ministers were 
pleased to have for me. ... If I have never dis- 
covered ^ by my words, writings, or 'actions any 
party virulence or dangerous designs against the 
present powers ; 1 if my friendship and conversation 
were equally shown among those who liked or 
disapproved the proceedings then at Court, and 
that I Was known to be a common friend of all 
deserving persons of the latter sort when they were 

l The distinguishing feature of Swift's party writings was 
viru ence. Even Bolingbroke admitted that Swift "exhaled pro- 
fusely black, corrosive vapours." 

Proposed Edition of Shakespeare 263 

in distress, I cannot but think it hard that I am 
not suffered to run quietly among the common 
herd of people, whose opinions unfortunately differ 
from those which lead to favour and preferment." 

As for his political creed, he had always declared 
himself against a popish successor to the Crown ; 
he had a mortal antipathy to standing armies ; he 
"adored" the wisdom of that Gothic institution 
which made Parliaments annual ; and he abominated 
the scheme of politics which set up a moneyed 
interest in opposition to the landed interests, con- 
ceiving that the possessors of the soil are the best 
judges of what is for the advantage of the kingdom. 
These were some of the sentiments he had formerly 
held ; his present opinions he dared not publish, 
since, however orthodox they might be at the time 
of writing, they might become criminal enough to 
bring him into trou.ble before midsummer. All 
he could reasonably hope to accomplish by this 
letter was to convince his friends and well-wishers 
that he had been neither so ill a subject nor so 
stupid an author as he had been represented by the 
virulence of libellers, who had fathered dangerous 
principles upon him which he had never maintained, 
and insipid productions which he was incapable of 

For about a year after the completion of the 
" Iliad " Pope rested on his Homeric laurels, but 
. his was not a mind to remain long idle. In the 
course of this year (1721) he accepted a commission 
to edit a new edition of Shakespeare's works, for 
which Lintot was to pay him the modest sum 
of '217 2J., and he was also editing Parnell's 

' Mr. P6pe 

"Remains," for which he received "^15. His 
leisure was still spent in work on his garden, the 
five acres proving an endless source of interest 
and occupation. On May i he wrote to Robert 
Digby; . 

"Our river glitters beneath an unclouded sun, 
at the same time that it retains the verdure of 
showers ; our gardens are offering their first 
nosegays ; our trees, like new acquaintance happily 
brought together, are stretching their arms to meet 
each other, and growing nearer and nearer every 
hour; the birds are paying their thanksgiving songs 
for the new habitations I have made for them/ My 
bmlding rises high enough to attract the eye and 
curiosity of the passenger from the river, where, 
upon beholding a mixture of beauty and ruin, he 
inquires what house is falling, or what church is 
rising. So little taste have our common Tritons 
of Vitruvius, whatever delight the poetical gods 
of the river may take in reflecting on their streams 
my Tuscan -porticoes or Ionic pilasters." 

Pope had not proceeded far with his Shakespearean 
editing before he realised that he had undertaken 
the work in too light-hearted a spirit,- and without 
due regard to the difficulties of the task. We find 
him writing to some of his literary friends for 
advice and information, but it does not appear that 
he received much outside help. Atterbury, to whom 
he made early application, replied that he had 
found time to read some parts of Shakespeare which 
he was least acquainted with, .but protested that 
in a hundred places he was quite unable to construe 
the dramatist. The hardest part of Chaucer," 

Proposed Edition of Shakespeare 265 

he adds, ft is more intelligible to me than some of 
these scenes, not merely through the faults of the 
I edition, but the obscurity of the writer, for obscure 

he is, and a- little (not a little) inclined now and 
then to bombast, whatever apology you may have 
contrived on that head for him. There are allusions 
in him to a hundred things of which I know nothing 
and can guess nothing. I protest ^Eschylus does 
not want a comment to me more than he does. 
So that I despair of doing you any considerable 

Atterbury was one of the few friends of the poet 
who occasionally treated him to plain speaking. 
From his enemies Pope was accustomed to the 
foulest abuse, from his admirers to the most fulsome 
flattery. But the Bishop of Rochester spoke his 
mind with candour and impartiality. When Pope 
sent him his " Reflections on Pastoral Poetry," 
with some new matter inserted, he replied, with 
refreshing frankness, " In good earnest, as to that 
wanton way of ridiculing serious writers, you and 
I differ." In returning thanks for the .poetical 
epitaph on Mr. Harcourt, 1 he remarks that, though 
he could like some of the verses if they were not 
Pope's, yet that, as they were his, he coul'd hardly 
like any of them. " From you," he declares, " I 
expect something of a more perfect kind, and which, 
the oftener it is read, the more it will be admired. 
When you barely exceed other writers, you fall 
much beneath yourself: it is your misfortune now 

1 The Hon. Simon Harcourt, son of the Lord Chancellor 
Harcourt, The epitaph is inscribed on his monument in the 
church at Stanton Harcourt. 

Mr. Pope 

to write without a rival, and to be tempted by 
that means to be more careless than you would 
otherwise be in your composures." 

It' is amazing to find that, in the 'spring of this 
year, there was not only a cessation of hostilities 
between Pope and Dennis, but even something 
in the nature of a rapprochement. In April Dennis 
published two volumes of " Letters " by subscription. 
Pope subscribed for the books, and Dennis wrote 
(April 29) to tell him that they had been left for 
him at Mr. Gongreve's lodgings, and adds: "As 
most of those letters were writ during the time 
I was so unhappy to be in a state of war 'with 
you, I was forced to maim arid mangle at least 
ten of them, that no footsteps might remain of 
that quarrel." Pope replied that he had received 
the books, and left with Mr. Congreve the amount 
that he was in debt to Dennis. "I look upon 
myself to be much more so," he continues, " for 
the omissions you have been pleased to make 
in those letters in my favour, and sincerely join 
with you in the desire that not the least traces 
may remain of that difference between us, which 
indeed I am sorry for." Seven years 'later, when 
Dennis figured in " The Dunciad," this incident 
was recalled, Dennis declaring that Pope had sub- 
scribed as a proof of his repentance, and Pope as- 
serting that Dennis was first touched with repentance 
"and with some guineas." 

In September Pope paid his annual visit to Lord 

Bathurst at Cirencester. He wrote thence to 

Lady Mary Wortley to acknowledge, with becoming 

, humility,- a letter in which she had praised his garden. 

Parnell's '"Remains" 

What an honour is it to my great walk," he 
exclaims, " that the finest woman in the world can- 
not stir from it ! That walk extremely well -answered 
the intent of its contriver when it detained her there. 
But for this accident, how had I despised and totally 
forgot my own little colifichies in the daily views 
of the noble scenes, opening and avenues of this 
immense design at Cirencester." In the name 
of Lord Bathurst, he invites her and her little 
daughter to journey thither, in order to spare 
him the trouble of description. For lodging, she 
need be under no manner of concern, for his 
lordship invites everybody he sees to stay in his 

On October 21 Pope wrote to Lord Oxford to 
ask permission to dedicate the edition of Parnell's 
" Remains " to him, with " a paper of honest verses." 
He adds the somewhat remarkable statement that 
<l It is the only dedication I ever writ, and shall be, 
whether you permit it or not : * for I will not bow 
the knee to a less man than my Lord Oxford, and 
I expect to see no greater in my time." This letter 
was accompanied by the famous " Epistle to Robert, 
Earl of Oxford," beginning 

Such were the notes thy once-loved poet sung, 
Till death untimely stopped his tuneful tongue. 

It is difficult to resist the temptation to quote the 
whole of this splendid tribute to a dead friend and 
a fallen minister. Whatever his real opinion of 

1 Pope had dedicated " The Rape of the Lock " to Miss Fertnor, 
" Windsor Forest " to Lord Lansdowne, and his translation of the 
" Iliad" to Congreve. 

268 Mr. Pope 

Lord Oxford, Pope's imagination seems to have been 
fired by the statesman's firmness and courage in the 
hour of trial. He told Spence that "They were 
quite mistaken in his [Lord Oxford's] temper, who 
.thought of getting rid of him by advising him to 
make his escape from the Tower. He would have 
sat out the storm, let the danger be what it would.. 
He was a steady man, and had a great firmness of 
soul, and would have died unconcernedly ; or 
perhaps, like Sir Thomas More, with a jest in his 
mouth." 1 

After a brief lament for Parnell, Pope reminds 
Oxford of the bygone days when 

For him thou oft hast bid the world attend, 
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend ; 
For Swift and him despised the farce of State, 
The sober follies of the wise and great ; 
Dexterous the craning, fawning crowd to quit, 
And pleased to 'scape from flattery to wit. 

Parnell is now alike careless of interest, fame, or 
fate, and 

Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great ; 
Or, deeming meanest what we greatest call, 
Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall. 

On another occasion Pope told Spence that Lord Oxford was 
not a very capable minister, and had a good-deal of negligence into 
the bargain. He used to send trifling verses from the Court to 
the Scnblerus Club almost every day, and would come .and talk 
idly with them almost every night, even when his all was at 
stake. He was muddled in his thoughts, and obscure in his 
manner of delivering them. He talked of business in so confused 
a manner that you did not know what he was about, and everything 
he went to tell you was in the epic way, for he always began in 
the middle." 

"Epistle to Lord Oxford" * 6 9 

If aught can touch the Immortals, cries the poet, it 
is a soul like Oxford's 

A soul supreme, in each hard interest tried, 
Above all-fraud, all passion and all pride, 
The rage of power, the blast of public breath, 
The lust of lucre, and the dread of death. 

Then follows the noble and moving conclusion : 

In vain to deserts thy retreat is made ; 
The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade : 
"f is hers the brave man's latest steps to trace, 
Rejudge his acts, and dignify his grace, < 
When Interest calls off all her sneaking train, 
And all the obliged desert, and all the vam ; 
She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell, 
When the last lingering friend has bid farewell. 
Ev'n now she shades thy evening walk with bays 
(No hireling she, no prostitute to praise) ; 
Ev'n now, observant of the parting ray, 
Eyes the cairn sunset of thy various day ; 
Through Fortune's cloud one truly great can see, 
Nor fears to tell that Mortimer is he. 

In those Whig-ridden days it must have taken 
some courage to address such lines to a Tory ex- 
minister, who had been in danger of paying for 
his politics with his head. Lord Oxford seems 
to have been deeply moved and gratified as well 
he might be by this tribute, so different in 
character from the ' perfunctory fulsorneness of the 
customary dedication. He wrote from Bramptori 
Castle on November 6 to express the great pleasure 
that it gave him to see that Mr. Pope preserved an 
old friend in his memory, since it is always agreeable 
to be remembered by those we value. 

" But then, how much shame did it cause me, 

270 Mr. Pope 

he proceeds, "when I read your very fine verses 
enclosed ? My mind reproached me how far short 
I came of what your great friendship and delicate 
pen' would partially describe me. You ask my con- 
sent to publish it : to what straits does this reduce 
me ? I look back indeed to those evenings I 
have usefully and pleasantly spent with Mr* Pope, 
Mr. Parnell, Dean Swift, the doctor, etc. I should 
be glad the world knew you admitted me to your 
friendship, and, since your affection is too hard for 
your judgment, 1 am contented to let the world 
know how well Mr. Pope can write upon a barren 



Proposed Translation of the "Odyssey "Com' 

mitment of Atterbury Flirtation with Judith 

WTITH a view, presumably, to recouping himself 
Yy for his losses over the South Sea Bubble, 
Pope now undertook to make an English version of 
the "Odyssey." From the first this seems to have 
been an uncongenial task, and it was felt by the 
poet's friends that he was wasting his genius upon 
what was little more than glorified hack-work. It 
was arranged, however, that 'his drudgery should 
be lightened by the assistance of his friends, Broome 
and Fenton. Broome had already been of service 
in translating the notes of Eustathius for the 
" Iliad," and had refused to accept any payment 
for his labour. Fenton was known to be a sound 
classical scholar and a writer of correct, though 
undistinguished, verse. The share that each took 
in the translation was to be carefully concealed. 

"I must once more put you in mind," wrote 
Pope to Broome on February 10, " that the whole 
success of this affair will depend upon your secrecy. 


2 7 2 Mr, Pope 

There is nothing, you may be sure, I will not do 
to make the whole as finished and spirited as I am 
able, by giving the last touches. You. do not need 
any man to make you a good poet. You need no 
more than what every good poet needs time and 
diligence, and doing something every day." 

This was a particularly busy year, since Pope was 
not only making arrangements for the translation of 
the " Odyssey," and annotating Shakespeare, but he 
was also preparing an edition of the works of John 
Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, who died in 1721. 
In a letter to Caryll he explains that, he . is very 
busy in doing justice to a far greater poet than 
himself (Shakespeare). " Besides this, I have the 
care of overlooking the Duke of Buckingham's 
papers, and correcting the press. That will be a 
very beautiful book, and has many things in it you 
will be particularly glad to see in relation to some 
former, reigns." 

In June Atterbury accepted an invitation to spend 
a few days at Twickenham, where Pope promised 
him good air, solitary groves, and diet sufficiently 
sparing to make him imagine himself one of the 
fathers of the desert. The bishop, was not to bring 
his coach, since, if he desired to pay any visits, his 
host possessed a roomy chariot, besides the little 
chaise in which he had been jokingly compared to 
"Homer in a nutshell." While at Twickenham 
Atterbury suggested that Pope should do for Milton 
what he had already done for Isaiah,' Chaucer, and 
Homer, that is, correct and modernise him. The 
bishop desired that " Samson Agonistes"' should be 
reviewed and polished, since the piece was capable, 

Correspondence with Atterbury 273 

in his opinion, of being " improved " into a perfect 
model and standard of tragic poetry ! 

Alt-hough Atterbury had formerly rebuked his 
friend for a tendency to ridicule his more serious 
contemporaries, he was an enthusiastic admirer of 
"The Character of Atticus," which, since the death 
of Addison in 1719, had been freely handed round 
in manuscript. On February 26 the bishop writes 
to beg a complete copy of the famous lines, which 
had been solicited by " another lord." No small 
piece of Pope's writing, he says, had ever been 
so much sought after, and it had pleased every 
man, without exception, to whom it had been shown. 
" Since you now know where your real talent lies," 
continues Atterbury, forgetful of his former pro- 
test, " I hope you will not suffer that talent to 
be unemployed. For my part, I should be so 
glad to see you finish something of that kind that 
I could be content to be a little sneered at in a 
line or so, for the pleasure I should have in reading' 
the rest." 

The "handing round " process had the usual 
result. A year later the fragment found its way 
into a miscellaneous volume entitled, " Cythereia ; 
or, Poem of Love, Gallantry, and Intrigue." It was 
published side by side with an " Answer," in which 
Addison's character is defended. The "Answer" 
was dedicated to his widow, Lady Warwick. Poor 
as it is, a few lines may be quoted here : 

When soft expressions covert malice hide, 
And pitying Satire cloaks o'erweening pride ; 
When ironies reversed right virtue show, 
And point the way true merit we may know ; 

Mr. Pope 

When Self-conceit just hints indignant Rage 
Showing its wary caution to engage, 
In mazy wonder we astonished stand, 
Perceive the stroke but miss th' emittent hand. 

Q Pope, forbear henceforth to vex the Muse 
Whilst forced, a task so hateful she pursues ; 
No more let empty words to rhymes be brought, 
And fluent sounds atone for want of thought. 
Still Addison shall live, and pregnant Fame 
Teem with eternal triumphs of his name; 

Still shall his country hold him more endeared,- 
Loved by this age and by the next revered. 
Or if, from good advice you turn your ear, 
Nor friendly words, imparted, timely hear,' 
Exert your utmost energy of spite, 

And as each envious hint arises, write : 

So shall his deathless glory never cease, 

And you, by lessening, will his fame increase. ' 

^pe started on his rambles earlier than usual 
this year, for in June we find him staying with 
the Digbys at Sherborne, whence he sent a long 
account of the place to Martha Blount. Probably 
he went to Cirencester during the summer, but, 
contrary to his usual custom, he was at Twickenham 
in September. In August Atterbury had been 
committed to the Tower on the charge of complicity 
in the Jacobite plots which had recently come to 
light. Pope refused to believe in his guilt, which, 
however, was fully proved. Treasonable correspon- 
dence was found among the bishop's papers, and 
there was evidence that a conspiracy was being 
hatched to land a large force of foreign troops 
under the command of the Duke of 'Ormonde. On 
September n Pope wrote to Gay, who had gone to 
Bath to be cured of a colic : 

Flirtation with Judith Cowper 
Pray tell Dr. Arbuthnot that even pigeon-pies 
and hogs'-puddings are thought dangerous by our 
governors, for those that have been sent to the 
Bishop of Rochester are opened and profanely pried 
into at the Tower. It is the first time dead pigeons 
have been suspected of carrying intelligence. To 
be serious, you and Mr. Congreve and the doctor, 
if- he has not dined, will be sensible of my 
concern and surprise at the commitment of that 
gentleman, whose welfare is as much my concern 
as any friend I have. I think myself a most 
unfortunate wretch. I no sooner love, and, upon 
knowledge, fix my esteem to any man, but he 
either dies, like Mr. Craggs, or is sent to prison, 
like the bishop. God send him as well as I wish 
him, manifest him to be as innocent as I believe 
him, and make all his enemies know him as well 
as I do, that they may love him and think of him 

as well ! " 

About this time Pope made the acquaintance of a 
clever and pretty girl, Judith Cowper, with whom 
he carried on a kind of intellectual flirtation until 
her marriage. Judith was the daughter of Spencer 
Cowper, brother of the Lord Chancellor, and Pope 
had probably met her at Bennington, the Hertford- 
shire home of his friend, Mrs. Coesar. 1 Although 

i Daughter of Ralph Freeman of Aspeden Hall, Herts, and 
wife of Charles Czesar, M.P. He had been Treasurer of the 
Navy in Queen Anne's reign. Mrs. Ctesar was a woman o 
literary enthusiasms. She was the friend arid correspondent of 
Swift, Jervas, and Lord Orrery, as well as of Pope. She entertained 
the dean's literary jrotigie, Mrs. Barber, when that lady paid a 
visit to London. Mrs. Ccesar's granddaughter married Sir Charles 
Cottrell Dormer of Kousham, where the Ctesar correspondence, 
and some. of the Ciesar portraits, are preserved. 

2 ?6 Mr, Pope 

only just twenty-one, Judith had already published 
one or two poems, "The Progress of Poetry " and 
verses on the death of Mr. Hughes. The former 
contains a flattering allusion to Pope, beginning : 

High on the radiant light see Pope appears 
With all the fire of youth and strength of years ; 
Where'er supreme he points the nervous line 
Nature and art in bright conjunction shine. 

A correspondence, half-gallant, half-literary, was 
carried on between the pair during the winter of 
1722-3. Pope addressed Miss Cowper in the 
hyperbolical style that he kept for his women 
correspondents, and, being an economical person, 
he made certain words and phrases do double duty. 
Judith had sent him some verses to correct, and he 
replied that, having considered them seriously, he 
found he could mend them very little, and that only 
in trifles. He was anxious she should realise that 
he was much better, or at least less faulty, as a 
man and a friend than as a wit and a poet. Judith, 
like Lady Mary Wortley, had been sitting for 
her portrait, and Pope, who was now a little dis- 
appointed in his fine-lady friend, and' more than 
a little alarmed at her wit, sent Miss Cowper some 
lines in which the two women are compared : 

Though sprightly Sappho force our love and praise, 

A softer wonder my pleased soul surveys 

The mild Erinna, blushing in her bays. 

So, while the sun's broad beam yet strikes, the sight, 

All mild appears the moon's more sober light; 

Serene, in virgin majesty she shines, 

And unobserved the glaring sun declines. 

Flirtation with Judith Cowpcr *77 

In another letter to Judith (November 5) the 

poet enclosed the famous lines about his garden, 

which Lady Mary Wortley believed to be inspired 

by her own charms : l 

What are the falling rills, the pendant shades, 
The morning bowers, the evening colonnades, 
But soft recesses for th' uneasy mind 
To sigh unheard in to the passing wind ? 
So the struck deer, in some sequestered part, 
Lies down to die (the arrow in his heart) ; t 
There hid in shades, and wasting day by day, l 
Inly he bleeds, and pants his soul away. 

"If these lines want poetry," comments Pope, 
"they do not want sense. God Almighty long 
preserve you from a feeling of them ! " 

Judith had made some inquiry about the progress 
of the Shakespeare edition, and he explains that the 
book is already a quarter printed, and, though the 
number of emendations is very great, he has never 
followed his own conjectures, but has kept to such 
amendments as were authorised by the old editions. 
" I only desire you to observe," he concludes, " by 
what natural, gentle degrees I have sunk to the 

1 In the spring of this year Lady Mary had sent the above 
verses (slightly varied) with the six extra lines, afterwards sup- 
pressed, to her sister, Lady Mar, at Paris. She says that the 
verses were addressed to Mr. Gay, who had congratulated Pope 
on having finished his house. She has stifled the verses in 
London, and begs they may die the same death at Paris. The 
suppressed lines run : 

Ah, friend, 'tis true -this truth you lovers know- 
In vain my structures rise, my gardens grow ; 
In vain fair Thames reflects the double scenes 
Of hanging mountains and of sloping greens : 
Joy lives not here ; to happier seats it flies, 
And only lives where W- casts her eyes. 

278 Mr, Pope 

humble thing I now am : first from a pretending 
poet to a critic ; then, to a low translator ; lastly, 
to a mere publisher." . . 

The flirtation presently entered upon a more 
.ardent phase. Miss Cowper had resolved to write 
no more poetry. But for this assurance Pope 
declared that it would be too dangerous to corre- 
spond with a lady whose very first sight and writing 
had had too agitating an effect upon a man like 
himself. He was accustomed 'to fine sights and 
fine writings, and had been dull enough to sleep 
quietly after all he had seen and read till .Miss 
'Cowper broke in upon 'his stupidity and totally 
destroyed his indifference. In a paltry hermitage 
at Twickenham there lived a creature altogether 
unworthy of her memory, because he wished -that 
he had never seen her or . her poetry. "You have 
spoiled him for a solitaire l and a book all the days 
: of his life, and put him into such a condition that 
he thinks of nothing, and inquires of nothing but 
a person who has nothing to say to him, and has 
left him for ever without hope of ever again 
regarding or pleasing or entertaining him, much 
less of seeing him. He has been so mad with the 
. idea of her as to steal her picture, and passes 
whole days in sitting before it, talking to himself 
and (as some people imagine) making verses ; but 
it is no such matter, for as long as he can get 
any of hers he can never turn his head to his 
own _it is so much better entertained." 

* In a letter to Lady Mary dated-August 18, 1716, Pope had 
said that "her conversation spoiled him for a solitaire. 


The Duke o! Buckingham's "Works "-The 
Trial and Banishment of Atterbury-De- 
ptession of Spirits-Correspondence with 
Judith Cowper 

rp H E issuing of the proposals for the ^scriprion 
T to the "Odyssey" was postponed m conse- 
qu e,Ke of the Jcry Igto* PP^ J^^ 
Duke of Buckingham's " Works. After a royal 
Hcence had been obtained to protect the copynght 

passages, but .his da ^ ce j" w$ ukdy true, 


. ,hmit the Duchess of Buckingham 

There is a curious passage atauttl ^ christ church> 

and Pope in a ^/'T "^"X SB,, which is preserved 

June ,, W an* - 

runs : . d Duc hess of Bucking- 

of such a thin g . 

280 Mr, Pope 

On February 16 Pope wrote to Lord Carteret to 
vindicate his innocence, and observed in the course 
of his defence: "I take myself to be the only 
scribbler of my time of any degree of distinction 
who never . received any places from the establish- 
ment, any pension from a Court, or any presents 
from a ministry." He wrote to Lord Harcourt 
in much the same strain, and actually suggested 
that it might be as well for. him to resign the 
translation of the " Odyssey " to Tickell ! " I fancy, 
in general," he remarks, " my appearing cool in 
this matter, and taking upon me a kind of dignity 
while I am abused and slandered, will have no 
ill effect in promoting it." 

The failing health of his mother, the drudgery 
of his work on the " Odyssey," and the imprison- 
ment of his friend Atterbury, sufficiently account for 
the depression that appears in Pope's letters at this 
time. The Bishop of Rochester was preparing his 
defence for the trial, which was to be held in May. 
'On April 10 he wrote from the Tower to thank 
Pope for all his friendship, past and present. 

and I believe he has caressed Pope so much of late with a view 
of 'making use of him on this occasion, but I know not what to 
say as to the success. If I consider the lady and her character, 
I should think it impossible ! Yet she dined with him last 
Monday at Bromley. The young duke, the last duke's natural 
daughter, Pope, and Chamberlain came along with her. This, 
in one of her quality, and who knows so well how to keep her 
state, was an odd condescension to one who had not then been 
a widower a full month, if she designs no further favour." 

By Roffe, Dr. Stratford means the Bishop of Rochester (Roffen) 
who was a new-made widower. The duchess was 'a natural 
daughter of James II., and she was plotting with the bishop 
in the interests of the Pretender, whom she afterwards persuaded 
to invest Atterbury with the principal management of his affairs. 


" Give my faithful service to Dr. Arbuthnot," 
he continues, "and thanks for what he sent me, 
. which was much to the purpose, if anything can 
be said to be to the purpose in a case that is already 
determined. Let him know my defence will be 
such that neither my friends need blush for me, 
nor will my enemies have great occasion of triumph, 
though sure of the victory. I shall want his advice 
before I go abroad in many things. But I q.uestion 
whether I shall be permitted to 'see him, or any- 
body but such as are absolutely necessary towards 
the despatch of my private affairs. If so, God 
bless you both ! and may no part of the ill 
fortune that attends me ever pursue either of 
you ! I know not but that I may call upon you 
at my hearing to say somewhat about my way of 
spending my time at the Deanery, which did 
not seem calculated towards managing plots and 

Pope replied in a lengthy and grandiloquent 

letter. For a long time past, he declares, he has 

/ thought and felt for nothing but his friend. The 

,, greatest comfort he has is an intention to have 

attended the bishop in his exile, a project to which 

he has brought his mother to consent. Pope had 

the passion of the stay-at-home for imaginary 

journeys. He was always planning to visit Swift 

in Ireland, or Bolingbroke in France, or Lady 

Mary Wortley in Italy, or Lord Peterborough in 

whatever quarter of the globe that erratic nobleman 

happened to be. Mrs. Pope, though in many ways 

a tie, was really a convenience when her son was 

' pressed to carry out his adventurous projects. It 

282 ' 'Mr. Pope 

was always his mother's health that kept him at 
home, a more picturesque hindrance than the fact 
that he was a bad sailor. 

After-urging Atterbury to think of Tully, Bacon, 
and Clarendon, the disgraced part of whose lives 
was the most enviable, Pope concludes : "I never 
shall suffer to be forgotten (nay, to be but faintly 
remembered) the honour, the pleasure, the pride 
I must ever have in. reflecting how frequently 
you have delighted me, how. kindly you have 
distinguished me, how cordially you have advised 
me ! In conversation and study I shall always want 
you and wish for you ; in my most lively arid in 
my most thoughtful hours I shall equally bear about 
me the impressions of you ; and perhaps- it will 
not be in this life only that I shall have cause to 
remember and acknowledge the friendship of the 
Bishop of Rochester." 

; The bishop's trial began on May 8, in the 
House of Lords. Pope was called to give evidence 
as to the manner in which the bishop spent his 
time while at the Deanery, but it does not appear 
that the poet distinguished himself as a witness. ,'j 

** I never could speak in public," he told Spence, 
"and I don't believe that, if it was a set thing, I 
could give an account of any story to twelve friends 
together, though I could tell it to any three of 
them with a great deal of pleasure. When I was 
to appear for the Bishop of Rochester, in his trial, 
though I had but ten words to say, and that on 
a plain point (how that bishop spent his time when 
I was with him at Bromley) I made two or three 
blunders in it : and that, notwithstanding the first 

The Trial of Atterbury 283 

row of lords (which was all I could see) were mostly 
of my acquaintance." 

Though the bishop made an impressive and 
impassioned speech in his own defence, the Bill of 
Pains and Penalties was passed by a majority 
of forty, and Atterbury went into exile. It is 
characteristic of Pope that, in his view, the most 
important part of this historical trial was the fame 
that he himself would gain through having appeared 
as a witness. He wrote to congratulate Atterbury 
on his noble defence, and to prophesy with what 
lustre the bishop's innocence would shine out to 
other ages : 

"I know perfectly well," he adds, "what a share 
of credit it will be to have appeared on your side, 
or to have been called your friend. I am far 
prouder of that word you publicly spoke of me 
than of anything I have yet heard of myself in 
my whole life. Thanks be to God that I, a private 
man, concerned in no judicature, and employed in 
no public cause, have had the honour, in this great 
and shining incident (which will make the first 
figure in the history of this time), to enter as 
it were my protest to your innocency, and my 
declaration of your friendship." 

We hear no more of the proposed attendance 
on the bishop to France, but Pope declared that, 
if permission could be gained to correspond with 
the exile, he would leave off all other writing and 
apply his pen wholly to the amusement- and comfort 
of his friend. 

It is evident, from a letter to Lord Harcourt, 
that Pope had been much alarmed, when cited as 

. Mr. Pope 

a witness in the Atterbury trial, lest he should 
be questioned about his religion, and also that he 
had decided to give an evasive reply. 

"I resolve," he explained, "to take any oppor- HI 
tumty of declaring (even upon oath) how different 
I^am from a reputed Papist is. I could almost 
wish I were asked if I am not a Papist. Would 
it. be proper in such a case to reply, that I don't 
perfectly know the import of the word, and would 
not answer anything that' might, for ought I know 
be. prejudicial to me during the Bill against such, 
which is impending. But that // to be a Papist 
be to profess and hold many such tenets of faith as 
are ascribed to Papists, I am not a Papist ; and if 
to be a Papist be to hold any that are averse to, or 
destructive of, the present Government, King, or Con- 
stitution, I am no Papist" 

A Bill was then in preparation for raising 
100,000 by a tax on the Catholics over and above 
the double land-tax to which they were already 
subject. In a. letter to Caryll Pope said that he 
saw nothing but melancholy prospects for his friends 
and himself. If this Bill passed he should lose 
a good part of his income, and was therefore 
providing an annuity "to enable me to keep myself 
that man of honour which I trust in God ever 
to be." 

The renewal of Pope's correspondence with Swift 
in the August of this year shows the poet still in 
a melancholy. mood. 1 His chief solace, he declares, 

<? . Broome > written ab Put the same time, Pope 
says: My body is sick,, my soul is troubled, my pockets are 
empty, my trees are withered, my grass is burned." 

Depression of Spirits 285 

is the society of Lord Bolingbroke, who had just 
returned from exile. 1 t> 

It is, sure, my most particular ill fate, he adds, 
'< that all those I have most loved, and with whom 
I have most lived, must be banished. After both 
of you left England, my constant host was the 
Bishop of Rochester. Sure this is a nation that 
is cursedly afraid of being overrun with too much 
politeness, and cannot regain one great genius but 
at the expense of another. I tremble for Lord 
Peterborough, whom I now lodge with ; he has 
too much wit, as well as courage, to make a solid 
general, and if he escapes being banished by others, 
1 fear he will banish himself." 

The merry vein in which the dean first knew 
him is now sunk into a turn of reflection, and he 
has acquired a quietness of mind which by fits 
improves into cheerfulness. He has no aversions 
except to knaves, and those who consort with them. 
The top pleasure of his life is one he learnt from 
Swift, namely, how to use the freedoms of friendship 
with men much his superiors. 

" I have carefully avoided all intercourse with 
poets and scribblers, unless when by great chance 
I find a modest one. By these means I have had 
no quarrel with any personally, and none have been 

i Bolingbroke had been dismissed by the Pretender and 
pardoned by George I., the death-sentence being cancelled. But 
he was still debarred from his title and estate. He had come 
over to try and get these disabilities removed, and had bribed 
the Duchess of Kendal with .n,ooo. In April, 1725, Walpole 
was compelled, through the duchess's influence, to brmg m a 
Bill to restore Bolingbroke's estate, but his restoration to the 
House of Lords was successfully resisted, 

286 Mr. Pope 

enemies but who were also strangers to me : and 
as there is no great need of eclaircissement with such, 
whatever they writ or said I never retaliated, not 
only never seeming to know, but often really never 
kjnowing, anything of the matter." 

This philosophical turn of mind was probably 
borrowed from Bolingbroke, who enclosed a letter 
to the dean in which he declares that no glut | 
of study will ever cast him back into the hurry of 
the world, and he only regrets that he should have 
fallen so late into a studious course of life. Reflec- 
tion and habit have' rendered the world indifferent to 
him, while his enemies, in driving him out of party, 
have driven him out of cursed company ; and, 
in stripping him of titles, rank, estate, and such 
trinkets, have given him that which no man could 
be happy without. 

Swift was much too clear-sighted to be taken in 
by the professions of a man who was moving 
heaven and earth to recover the trinkets of titles, 
estates, and power. In his reply to the joint letter 
he says : " 1 have no very strong faith in you 
pretenders to retirement. You are not of an age 
for it, nor have gone through either good or bad 
fortune enough to go into a corner and form 
conclusions de contempt u mundl et fagd scsculi ; 
unless a poet grows weary of too much applause, 
as ministers do of too much weight of business." 

The flirtation by correspondence with Judith 
Cowper continued throughout the greater part of 
this year, though by August Pope had reached 
the somewhat ominous stage of apologising for 
delay in answering the lady's letters. But at this 

Correspondence with Judith Cowper 287 

time he is resolved, he says, to retire from the 
world and devote himself to the only business he 
is good for. The lives of the great are divided 
between idleness and vanity, and in each of them 
poetical fiddlers make but part of their pleasure or 
their equipage. 

" They have put me of late upon a task before 
I was aware, which I am sick and sore of ; and 
yet engaged in honour to some persons whom I 
must neither disobey nor disappoint (I mean two 
or three in the world only) to go on with it. ... 
You will easily find I am talking of my translating 
the ( Odyssey ' by subscription ; which looks, it must 
needs look, to all the -world as a design of mine 
both upon fame and money, when in truth I believe 
I shall get neither ; for the one I go about without 
any stomach, and the other I shall not go about 
at all." 

In September of this year Miss Cowper wrote 
some verses on the Bower at Bennington which were 
much admired by her friends. Mrs. Caesar begged 
for a copy to send to Pope, and Miss Cowper 
replied in the style of the polite letter-writer : l 

1 This letter is from the unpublished MS. in the Caesar 
Correspondence. It is dated from Hertingfordbury, and contained 
a copy of the lines on the Bower, which run as follows : 

In Tempe's shades the living lyre was strung, 
And the first Pope (immortal Phcebus) sung. 
These happy shades, where equal beauty reigns, 
Bold rising hills, slant vales, and far-stretched piains, 
The grateful verdure of the waving woods, 
The soothing murmur of the falling floods, 
A nobler boast, .a higher glory yield, 
Than that which Phcebus stamped on Tempo's field : 
All that can charm the eye or plertse the ear 
Says, Harmony itself inhabits here. 

288 Mr. Pope 

"I .should think myself very happy if my 
obedience to your commands could give you but 
parr of the pleasure the receiving of them made 
me feel. Where I esteem and value I must be 
.sincere, and as a-proof I have sense enough to do 
both in relation to you, I will freely own self-interest 
has a great share in the regard I must always profess 
for. Mrs. C*sar : when I do, therefore, anything, 
you are pleased to say will oblige you, you are 
.still under no obligation to -me; 'tis only in the 
most sensible manner pleasing and obliging myself 
and giving at the same time the greatest, as well 
as the only, proof in my power to give/ that I 
nave judgment." 

There is a good deal more in the same strain, 
but it will be sufficient to quote the all-important 
. postscript : 

"If Mr. Madan is still at Bennington, pray let 
him know we have just received information that 
the Lumber House, by a sudden and lamentable 
fare, is burnt down to the ground. Though great 
care was used, it seems they have only been able 
to save a violin, a powder-horn, and Captain 
Strudwick.". . r 

Mrs. Caesar at once forwarded the verses to Pope, 
who replied on September 12 : 

" For God's sake, madam, do not worry my soul 
out of this miserable body with making it too 
proud to stay in it. The verses you sent me will 
certainly send me to Phcebus and the gods : and 
then, for ever adieu to ye ! 

"Tell Mrs. Cowper she does very ill by me to 

Correspondence with Judith Cowper 289 
send me so many tokens of heavenly favour and 
never afford me one beatifical vision. Her friends 
here are well. So, madam, are yours I mean my 
mother and myself, whom you honour too much 
by mentioning. 

" I obey you twelve times more, l and am always 
Mr. Cesar's and, Madam, 

"Yours, etc., 

"A. POPE." 2 

On September 26 Pope wrote to Judith about 
a certain poetical sketch he has seen on the Bower 
at Bennington, and urges her to write something in 
the descriptive way, mixed with vision and moral, like 
the pieces of the old Provencal poets, which abound 
with fancy, and are the most amusing scenes in nature. 

"I have long had an inclination to tell a fairy- 
tale," he continues ; " the moire wild and exotic 
the better. Therefore, a vision, which is confined 
to no rules of probability, will take in all the 
variety and luxuriancy of description you will, 
provided there be an apparent moral to it. I think 
one or two of the ' Persian Tales ' would give one 
hints for such an invention. ... If you did, but 
'at leisure form descriptions from objects in nature 
itself which struck you as most lively, I would 
undertake to find a tale that should bring them 
all together, which you will think an odd under- 
taking, but, in a piece of this fanciful and imaginary 
nature, 1 am sure is practicable." 

1 Mrs. Csesar had probably asked for twelve more forms for 
subscriptions to the " Odyssey." 
a From the unpublished MS. in the Caesar Correspondence. 

VOL. I J 9 

290 Mr, Pope 

Anything more unpromising than a moral descrip- 
tive fairy-tale can hardly be conceived, but that 
Pope had really entertained the idea is proved by 
his telling Spence, many years later, that "after 
reading the ''Persian Tales' (and I had 'been reading 
Dryden's Fables ' just before them) I had some 
thought of writing a Persian Fable in which I 
would have given full loose to description and 
imagination. It would have been a very wild thing 
if I had executed it, but it might not have been 

Judith Cowper did not seize upon the oppor- 
tunity of collaborating with the first poet of the 
age, for her thoughts were turned towards a romance 
of real life. On December 7 of this year she was 
married to the Mr. Madan.of her postscript, who )| 

was a neighbour at Hertingfordbury, 1 and, though 
she published some verses after her marriage, her 
flirtation with the poet came to an untimely end. 

1 Martin Madan, M.P. for Wobtton Basset, and Groom of 
the Bedchamber to Frederick, Prince of Wales, Their son was 
the Rev. Martin Madan, who 'won a rather unenviable notoriety 
by publishing a book in defence of polygamy, called " Thelyph- 
thora" (1780). His cousin, Cowper the poet, replied to it with 
" Anti-Thelyphthora : a Tale in Verse." 


The Subscription for the " Odyssey " Corre* 
spondence with Lord Bolingbroke 

TTHE publishing arrangements for the translation 
* of the " Odyssey " were not made so easily as 
those for the Iliad. Tonson refused to contract for 
the copy, but an agreement was come to with 
Lintot, who paid ^600 and supplied the subscribers' 
copies free. The work was to be brought out in 
five volumes at a guinea a volume. Lintot made 
little or nothing by his venture, but it is estimated 
that Pope, after paying Broome $oo l for trans- 
lating eight books, and Fenton 200 for four books, 
cleared about ^3 r yoo. 3 ' 

As before, the poet's friends rallied round him, 
and not only subscribed themselves, but worked f 

hard to secure subscribers. When the " Proposals " 
were to be printed, Pope wrote to Lord Harley to ! 

ask how many sets were to be set down under his ; i 

name in the printed list of subscribers. Mr. Walpole . |; 

and Lord Townshend had each taken ten sets, but f 

' Broome was also allowed the subscriptions that he got from . 
his own friends. These amounted to ^70. 
1 Carruthers estimates Pope's profits at not more than ^2,885. 



Mr. Pope 

Pope explained that he had put down the Duchess 
of Buckingham for five, and suggested that he 
should put down the same number for his lord- 
ship. Harley replied that he would take ten 
sets, his wife five, and his daughter Peggy 1 
one. At five guineas the set this family subscrip- 
tion would therefore amount to eighty guineas, 
and entail finding house-room for eighty quarto 

Mrs. Casar was almost as eager a subscription- 
hunter as John Caryll himself. In the Cxsar Corre- 
spondence there are several little notes about the 
great business. Thus, on April 23 Pope writes : 1 
obey you in sending five more of my receipts ; few 
people ^ obey so readily as those who are rewarded 
for their obedience, which I find I am by you much 
above my merits." And again, on July 2.2 : " It is no 
new thing for a poet to be obliged to Mrs. Ccesar. 
I therefore do as you order- me. I beg you to 
accept a vile print which I promised you at Lord 
Harley's, I will soon have the honour of sending 
you a better." 

In the Cassar copy of the Odyssey " at Rousham 
is pasted a little note to the lady, in which Pope says : 
I'You will see by the enclosed I have obeyed you 
in some articles, as to Lord Stratford, Lady Sarah, 
etc. I took another liberty with your own name, 
which you knew nothing of, nor I dare say would 
have expected ; and have made a star of Mrs. 
Caesar as well as of Mrs. Fermor. 2 If anybody asks 

1 Lady Margaret, afterwards the ' good Duchess of Portland 
* An allusion to the end of " The Rape of the Lock." Belinda's 
curl became a constellation. 

The Subscription for the "Odyssey" 293 

you the reason of this, quote to 'em this verse of 

Virgil: . . 

" Processit Casaris Astrum. 

I am daily in hopes of waiting on you when you 
are in town. . . ." Mrs. Caesar's name is starred in' 
the printed list of subscribers, and is also printed in 
capitals the only one thus honoured. 

Pope was particularly anxious that Broome should 
preserve a rigid silence about the number of books 
that each partner had translated, since the least 
breath of the truth would prejudice the town and 
spoil the subscription. " I do not doubt," he re- 
marked in one letter, " but I shall have some merit 
in advancing your fame to its just pitch. The 
public is both an unfair and -a silly judge, unless it 
be led or trepanned into justice." 

Broome, however, would "still be talking," for 
he was immensely proud of his connection with the 
leading poet of his time. Pope stated in his " Pro- 
posals " that, though he was the undertaker of the 
translation, he had engaged assistants to aid him in 
the work ; but he carefully refrained from stating 
the amount of help that he had received. Although, 
us will be seen, he afterwards claimed to have 
translated seven books that were actually the work 
of Broome and Fenton, he plumed himself upon his 
honourable and generous conduct. He also con- 
trived to prove, to his own satisfaction, that by 
concealing Broome's sfrare in the work he was actu- 
ally advancing his friend's reputation. In the course 
t of a discussion on this point, he wrote to the simple- 

2 94 Mr. Pope 

minded Rector of Stuston in a perfect ecstasy of 

self-approval : 

"To open my mind to you freely as. a Christian, 
and talk as to a divine, I protest, in the sight of 
Him to whom I owe any talents I have, 1 am as 
far above the folly of being vain of those I have 
as I should -be above the baseness of arrogating to 
myself those I have not." One good-natured action 
or one charitable intention was, in his opinion, of 
more merit than all the rhyming, jingling faculties 
; in- the world. Indeed, he thought it more desirable 
to -gratify a private friend 'in his desire of a character 
this way than to advance his own, which he could 
never be proud of, when he considers how vast a 
share of popular admiration proceeds from ignorance. 

Bolingbroke had returned to France at the end of 
1723, but he kept up a friendly correspondence with 
Twickenham. He, like Lord Oxford, regretted that 
the poet should devote his time and talents to the 
more or less mechanical task of translating. On 
February 1 8 he wrote a long and interesting letter 
to Pope, in the course of which he urged his friend 
to "compose," and not to look upon his translations 
of Homer as the chief work of his life.' "Prelude 
with translations, if you please," he exclaims, " but 
after translating what was writ three thousand years 
ago, it is incumbent upon you that you write, 
because you are able to write, what will deserve to 
be translated three thousand years hence into 
languages as yet perhaps unformed." 

It was Pope's duty, according to Bolingbroke, to 
help to spread and fix his own language. The 
French and Italians had more lessons of luxury to 

Correspondence with Lord Bolingbroke 295 

give than the English, but we were then their 
masters in learning, The philosophers of the Con- 
tinent were obliged to learn English, and ' the 
mathematicians might have been under the same 
necessity if Sir Isaac Newton had not saved them 
the trouble by writing in Latin. But a language 
which was designed to spread, must recommend 
itself by poetry, by eloquence, by history. 

" I believe," continues Bolingbroke, " England 
has produced as much genius as any country. Why, 
then, is our poetry so little in request among 
strangers ? Several reasons may be given, and this 
certainly as the most considerable, that we have not 
one original great work of that kind wrote near 
enough to perfection to pique the curiosity of other 
nations, as the epic poetry of the Italians, and the 
dramatic poetry of the French pique ours. Elo- 
quence and history are, God knows, at the lowest 
ebb imaginable among us. The different styles are 
not fixed, the bar and the pulpit have no standard, 
and our histories are gazettes, ill-digested and worse 
writ. ... In short, excellent writings can alone 
recommend a language, and contribute to the spread- 
ing of it. No man will learn English to read 
Homer or Virgil. Whilst you translate, therefore, 
you neglect to propagate the English tongue ; and 
whilst you do so, you neglect to extend your own 

The letter concludes with allusions to Swift and 
Voltaire which are not without interest. Swift, at 
this time, suffered from morbid fears of daggers, 
halters, and .gibbets, which, he believed, were pre- 
pared for him by the party, in power. Arbuthnot 

296 Mr. Pope 

compared him _ to Sancho Panza, who clung to a 
broom-bush all night, thinking that a prfcipice 
yawned beneath him, and found, when day Igh 
broke that he was within two inches of the ground 
Bplinghroke remarks that Swift had not enough 
. dssipation to dlvert his spleen> Md adds ; a . Th g 

black, corrosive vapours which he exhaled so pro- 
fusely .f ormerly in the open air hwe ben P 

up in a caster, and he is become the martyr of 

Eolingbroke had just been reading 77,, 
cfMan aane by his friend Volta J ^ 

' .t the art and delicacy of Racine, with a spirit 
of poetry which was never possessed in the same 
degree by either Racine or Corneille. Voltaire hTd 
expressed his intention of introducing himse.f o 
Pope when he vs.ted England, and hoped that the 
Muses would answer for him.' In his reply Pope . 
says that he has just been reading LaLigue 
(the Wle under which the "Henriade" wa" first 
pubhshed ,n , 723) and criticises it very favorably 
remarfang that the author is not less a poet for 
being a man of sense, as Seneca and his nephew were 

I esL n h- Sm ^'" ^ C ntinUeS ' " When 1 add th 
I esteem him for that honest principled spirit of 

re .g,on which shines, through the whole, and from 
whence unknown as I am to M. Voltaire, I con- 
clude him at once a freethinker and a lover of 
qutet ; no bigot, but yet no heretic ; one who 
honours authority and national- sanctions without 

in En ,and 

Correspondence with Lord Bolingbroke 297 

prejudice to truth or chanty ; one who has studied 
controversy less than reason, and the Fathers less 
than mankind ; in a word, one worthy, from his 
rational temper, of that share of friendship and 
intimacy with which you honour him." 

With regard to his own work, Pope explains 
that he does not translate Homer as a great task, 
but as an easy one. Fie has begun to think more 
of comfort and happiness than of fame, and " To , 
write well, lastingly well, immortally well, must 
not one be prepared to endure .the reproaches of 
men, want, and much fasting nay, martyrdom in 
its cause ? It is such a task as scarce leaves a man 
time to be a good neighbour, a useful friend nay, 
to plant a tree, much less to save his soul" As 
for the present state of literature in England, Pope 
points out that a State divided into various factions 
and interests occasions an eternal swarm of bad 
writers. " Some of these will be encouraged by 
the Government equally, if not superiorly, to the 
good ones, because the latter will* rarely, if ever, 
dip their pens for such ends. And these are sure 
to be cried up and followed by one half of the 
kingdom, and consequently possessed of no small 
degree of reputation. Our English . style is more 
corrupted by the party writers than by any other 
cause whatever. They are universally read, and 
will be read and approved, in proportion to their 
degree of merit, much more than any other set 
of authors in any science, as men's passions and in- 
terests are stronger and surer than their tastes and 

Lord Oxford died on May 21, and was succeeded 

Mr. Pope 

by his son Edward. On June I Pope wrote to 
Mrs. Caesar, who was an intimate friend of Lord 
and Lady . Oxford : 

*' 1' know you to be sincere in your concern 
for. the loss 'of this- great man, and therefore you 
will believe me so. The degree of friendship with 
which he honoured me, though ' 1 will not call 
it a great one, is one I shall never forget. I 
believe we shall always concur in our concerns 
and satisfactions, as well as in our esteem or dis- 
esteem of men and manners. The world is not 
worth living in if all that are good in it leave it for 
a better. ... Pray tell Mrs. Madan that I sit 
down by the river and weep till she returns ; and 
when they bid me sing, I reply, How can J sing 
when -she is in a strange land ? " l . 

Pope was laid up during this spring with an 
intermittent fever, and in June he went to Dorset- 
shire for a change. On June 15 he wrote a 
birthday letter to Martha Blount, in ' which . he 
expressed his regret at having to leave home just 
as he had fancied they were to begin to live together 
in the country. 2 In this letter we find the first 
intimation of Pope's impatience at the restrictions, 
imposed on his- intercourse with Martha by the fact 
that she was living with her. family. "Wherever I 
wander," he remarks, " one reflection strikes me : 
I wish you were as free as I ; or at least had a tie 
as tender and as reasonable as mine to a relation 
'that as well deserved your constant thought, and. to 

*' From the unpublished MS. in the Caesar Correspondence. 
1 The Blounts had taken a house for the summer months at 

Illness of Mrs. Pope *99 

whom you would always be pulled bacMin^uch a 
manner as I am) by the heart-strings. He adds that 
he has never been well since he set out, but she is 
not to let his mother know it. On the other hand, 
since Mrs. Pope probably does not send a true 
account, of her own -health to him, he commissions 
Patty to report progress." '. . , u 

By July the poet was back at Twickenham, much 
recovered in health, and very busy laying out a new 
garden. In September he was preparing to start 
on his usual round of visits, and had accepted 
invitations to stay with the Duchess of Buckingham 
at Leighs, and the new Lord Oxford at Wirnpole 
Mrs Pope, however, was taken dangerously ill 
towards the end of the month, and her son was 
obliged to give up his visits. For the next eight 
or nine weeks he devoted himself to nursing 
his mother, and by the end of the year had the 
satisfaction of seeing her restored to her usual degree 
of health. 


i; 1725 

;'__; The Edition of Shakespeare 

IN March of this year the first three volumes of 
the " Odyssey " were published ; in April the 
edition of Shakespeare made its appearance ; while, 
in the course of the summer, the famous Grotto ' 
was finished. Of the three works, the Grotto -was 
the only unqualified success. Subscribers to the 
"Odyssey" were of opinion that they received 
small value for their money. People complained 
that the paper was bad, the margin narrow, the 
type old, and the poetry journey-work. When it 
became known what a large share 'of the translation 
had been done by obscure assistants, the note of 
dissatisfaction grew louder and more shrill. 

Pope's edition of Shakespeare has generally been 
passed over by his biographers as a " regrettable 
incident," but the work that he put into it, whether 
for good or evil, deserves more careful considera- 
tion. Nicholas Rowe had brought out an edition 
of Shakespeare in 1709, but it was recognised, even 
at that date, that ,.his editorial task was performed 
in the most perfunctory fashion. The growing de- 
mand for Shakespeare's dramas, and the gradually 

increasing comprehension of his genius, tempted 
Tonson to speculate in a new and costly edition 
of the plays. It was characteristic of a publisher 
that he should imagine one great poet to be the 
ideal editor of another and far greater poet. No 
expense was spared in the production. The edition 
was published in six sumptuous quarto volumes at 
a guinea each. Though Pope was paid only 
117 iis. for his share in the work, it was com- 
. monly believed, by his enemies at least, that he 
received a part of the profits from the subscriptions. 

From the Preface, which was long regarded as 
a model of its kind, we gather what had been 
Pope's aims when he undertook the task, and from 
the work itself we may discover how far he carried 
out those aims. He enjoyed superior opportunities . 
.to Rowe, since he had the folios of 1623 and. 1632 
at his disposal, as well as the quarto editions of 
the plays. Probably these were borrowed from 
the private libraries of some of his book-collecting - 
friends. He professed to have carefully collated 
the texts of the various early editions, but it is 
clear, from internal evidence, that he had done 
nothing of the kind. 

" I have discharged the dull duty of an editor," 
writes Pope in his Preface, " to my best judgment, 
with more labour than I expect thanks, with a 
religious abhorrence of all innovation, and without 
any 'indulgence to my private sense of conjecture. 
The various readings are fairly put in the margin, 
so that every one may compare them, and those 
I have preferred into the text are constantly ex fde 
codiciim upon authority. The alterations or additions 

30 2 Mr. Pope 

which Shakespeare himself made are taken notice 
of as they occur. Some suspected passages which 
are excessively bad , . . are degraded to the bottom 
of the page, with an asterisk referring to the places 
of. their insertion. The scenes are marked so dis- 
tinctly that every removal of place is specified, 
which is more necessary in this author than any 
other, since he shifts them more frequently : and 
sometimes, without attending to this particular, the 
reader would have met with obscurities. The more 
obsolete or unusual words are explained. Some 
of the most shining passages are distinguished by 
commas in the margin ; and where the beauties 
lay, not in particular but in the whole, a star is 
prefixed to the scene." 

It has commonly been supposed thai: Pope .be- 
stowed little labour on this edition,, but as a matter 
of fact he seems to have devoted a great deal of 
time and trouble to the editorial task, which he 
had undertaken in happy ignorance of his lack of 
qualifications for such work. He did not possess 
the necessary knowledge of Elizabethan literature, 
dramatic or otherwise, he was wanting in the 
industry of the critical scholar, and he ' had little 
or no conscience where verbal accuracy was con- 
cerned. Contrary to his professions in his Preface, 
he constantly indulged in private conjecture, often 
ill-founded, rarely put the various readings in the 
margin, made thousands of changes on his own 
authority, and he left many obsolete words un- 
explained, for the excellent reason that he had no 
idea of their meaning. The passages that did not 
commend themselves to his own individual taste 

The Edition of Shakespeare 303 

he printed at the bottom of the page, on the 
ground that they were probably the interpolations 
of the players a class for which he had felt the 
strongest dislike ever since his collision with Colley 
Gibber. But the majority of his changes, more 
especially of the unacknowledged changes, were 
made in the measure. iHe desired that Shakespeare, 
like Homer, should talk good English, and that 
his lines should scan. The metre was, in his eyes, 
more important than the sense, and, if he had had 
the courage, he would probably have reduced all 
Shakespeare's verse to the same dead level of 
correct monotony. 

However, some virtues must be conceded to him. 
He replaced certain passages that had been dropped 
out of earlier editions, and he made some happy 
emendations. For example, we owe him one shining 
beauty. In the lines 

Oh ! it came o'er my ear like the sweet south 
That breathes upon a bank cf violets. 

Pope substituted "south -" for "sound," which was 
the accepted reading in his day. Again, it must 
be owned that some of his attempts at mending 
the metre, where he does not interfere with the 
sense, might meet with approval from all but rabid 
upholders of the original text. Thus, in Measure 
for Measure, Isabella's lines were. changed from . 

There have I made my promise, upon the 
Heavy middle of the night to call upon him, 

There, on the heavy middle of the night, 
Have I my promise. made to call upon him. 

Mr. Pope 

Though the public generally was dissatisfied with 
Pope's edition, if only on account of the numerous 
misprints which disfigured the costly volumes, a 
student who had "specialised" in Elizabethan 
literature was required to point, out the faults of 
omission and commission that were to be found 
on nearly every page. Unfortunately for Pope, 
one such specialist was numbered among his con- 
temporaries. Lewis Theobald was a contemporary 
in the literal sense of the word, for he was born 
m the same year as Pope, and died in the same year. 
He, too, was nominally a poet, had translated 
the classics, and contemplated a version of the 
"Odyssey." Unlike Pope, he wrote plays which 
appeared on the boards under his own name.. 
Unlike Pope, again, he was well read in early 
English literature, and more especially in the 
Elizabethan drama. Though he has generally been 
regarded as a dull and plodding pedant, he had 
flashes of intuition, where the Shakespearean text' 
was concerned, that positively amounted to genius. 

Theobald was a conscientious, well-intentioned 
man, and he regarded Pope's edition of Shakespeare 
with more sorrow than anger. In the innocence of 
his heart, he really seems' to have believed that the 
poet would welcome corrections and emendations, 
and, in any case, he could not let slip such an 
opportunity of giving the results of his studies to 
the world. 

Accordingly he set about preparing a now famous 
pamphlet, which he published in 1726 under the 
title of. " Shakespeare Restored ; or, a Specimen of 
the many Errors, as well committed ias unamended, 

The Edition of Shakespeare 35 
by Mr. Pope in his late Edition of this Poet. 
Designed not only to correct the said Edition, but 
to restore the True Reading of Shakespeare in all 
the Editions ever yet published." 

Theobald reckoned himself among the most ardent 
admirers of Pope's poetry, and had even done battle 
with Dennis on that account. In his Preface to 
' "Shakespeare Restored," he says that he had ex- 
pected much from Pope's edition, and had been 
disappointed. n 

' I have so great an esteem for Mr. Pope, he , 
adds, " and so high an opinion of his genius and 
excellencies, that I beg to be excused from the least 
intention of derogating from his merits in this 
attempt to restore the true reading of Shakespeare. 
Though I confess a veneration almost' rising to 
idolatry for the writings of the inimitable poet, 
I would be very loth even to do him justice at 
"the expense of that other gentleman's character. 
But 1 am persuaded, I shall stand as free from such 
a charge in the execution of this design as I am 
sure 1 am in the intention of it ; for I am assuming 
a task here which this learned editor seems purposely 
(I was going to say, with too nice a scruple) to have 

resigned." , 

Though Theobald deals faithfully with Popes 
blunders, the spirit of humanity and courtesy is 
preserved almost throughout. The greater number 
of corrections and emendations were given to 
Hamlet, but over a hundred relate to the other 
plays. Many were of the first importance, while 
others dealt with errors of punctuation. The 
different way in which the imagination of the two 
VOL. i 20 

306 Mr. Pope 

editors worked may best be seen in their several 
readings of a passage in Henry V., the meaning of 
which had hitherto baffled all conjectures. This 
was Mistress Qu'ickly's famous description of the 
death of Falstaff, which, in the folio of 1623, is 
thus printed : 

'A made a finer end, and went away and it had been any 
christome child ;, 'a parted ev'n just between twelve and one, 
ev'n at the turning o' th' tyde; for after I saw him fumble 
with the sheets, and play with flowers, and smile upon his 
fingers-end, I knew there was but one way ; for his nose was 
as' sharpe as -a pen, and a table of green fields. 

Pope threw out the concluding half-dozen 
words, remarking : "This nonsense got into all the 
editions by a pleasant mistake of the stage editors, 
who printed from' the common piecemeal- written 
parts in the playhouse. A table was here directed 
to be brought in (it being a scene in a tavern where 
they drink at parting), and. this direction crept into 
- the text from the margin. Greenfield was the name 
of the property -man in that time who furnished 
implements, etc., for the actors." 

This " wild surmise " was not accepted by 
Theobald. He knew more about the theatre than 
Pope, and he was aware that the stage directions 
for furnishing properties are never marked in the 
, middle of the scenes for which they are required. 
Also, that the name of the property master is never 
given in the prompter's book. Further, no one 
but Pope had ever heard of Greenfield. Theobald 
; possessed an edition of Shakespeare on the margin 
of which some one had written " talked " for " table.'^ 
This gave a clue. Let table be read "babied" 

The Edition of Shakespeare 37 
(as babbled was often spelt) and then the passage 
would run: "His nose was as sharp as a pen 
'and 'a babied of green fields." This beautiful con- 
jecture, whether accurately founded or not, has been 
accepted by every subsequent English editor except 
Warburton, who omitted the disputed phrase, and 
Collier, who preferred " on a table of green frieze." 
Pope himself, in the second edition of his Shake- 
speare, alludes to the emendation, remarking that he 
had omitted the words because they could not be 
found in any edition till after the author's death. 
" However, < The Restorer ' has a mind they should 
be genuine, and, since he cannot otherwise make 
sense of 'em, would have a mere conjecture 

admitted." . 

In spite of the studied moderation of Theobald s 
tone, a moderation not less rare at that time than 
the thoroughness of his critical methods, and the 
wide" range of his reading in English literature, 
Pope was furious with the Restorer," and he 
prepared a punishment that was out of all pro- 
portion to the offence. Two years later Theobald 
was pilloried as the hero of that monumental satire, 
"The Dunciad." 

The Grotto Swift's Misanthropy Scandal 
about Martha Blount 

HPHE somewhat disappointing reception accorded 
* to the edition of Shakespeare and the 'early 
books of the " Odyssey " was partly compensated 
for by the succes fou of the Grotto, which was 
at once the admiration and ' envy of the poet's 
friends. In a letter to Edward Blount, dated 
June 2, Pope gives the following account of his 
subterranean work : 

" Let the young ladies be assured I make nothing 
new in my gardens without wishing to see the 
print of .their fairy steps in every part of them. 
I have put the last hand to my works of- this kind 
in happily finishing the subterraneous- way and 
Grotto. I there found a spring of the clearest 
water, which falls in a perpetual rill, that echoes 
through the cavern day and night. From the 
river Thames you see through . my arch up to a 
walk of the wilderness, to a kind of open temple, 
wholly composed of shells in the rustic manner ; 
and from that distance under the temple you look 
down through a sloping arcade of trees, and see 
the sails on the river passing suddenly and vanishing 


The Grotta 39 

as through a perspective glass. When you shut 
the doors of the Grotto it becomes on an instant, 
from a luminous room, a camera obscura, on the 
walls of which all the objects of the river, .hills, 
woods and boats, are forming a moving picture in 
their visible radiations ; and when you have a mind 
to light it up it affords you a very different, scene. 
It is finished with shells, interspersed with pieces 
of looking-glass in angular forms ; and in the 
ceiling is a star of the same materials, at which, 
when a lamp of an orbicular figure of thin alabaster 
is hung in the middle, a thousand pointed rays 
glitter and are reflected over-the place. There are 
connected with this Grotto by a narrower passage 
two porches with niches and seats one towards 
the river of smooth stones, full of light and open ; 
the other towards an arch of trees, rough with 
shells, flint, and iron-ore. The bottom is paved 
with simple pebbles, as the adjoining walk up the 
wilderness to the temple is to be cockle-shells in 
the natural taste, agreeing not ill with the little 
dripping murmur, and the acquatic idea of the 
whole place. It wants nothing to complete it but 
a good statue with ah inscription." l 

1 Johnson remarks that Pope, "being under the necessity of 
making a subterraneous passage to a garden on the other side 
of the road, adorned it with fossil bodies, and dignified it with 
the title of a Grotto ; a place of silence and retreat, from which 
he endeavoured to persuade his friends and himself that cares 
and passions could be excluded. A grotto is not often the wish 
or pleasure of an Englishman, who has more frequent need to 
solicit than exclude the sun ; but Pope's excavation was requisite 
as an entrance to his garden, and, as some men try to be proud 
of their defects, he extracted an ornament from an inconvenience, 
and vanity produced a grotto where necessity enforced a passage." 

3* Mr. Pope 

Pope was quite as proud of his gardening opera- 
tions as he was of his poetry though he affected 
i to despise the materials with which he had to deal. 
"I am as busy in three inches of garden," he tells 
I Lord Straffbrd, "as any man can be in three-score 
I acres. I fancy myself like the fellow that spent 
his life in cutting the twelve Apostles on one; 
'cherry-stone. I have a theatre, an arcade, a bowling- 
green, a grove, and what not, in a bit of ground 
that would have been but a* plate of- "sallet to 
.Nebuchadnezzar the first day he was turned to 

: The actual translation of the remaining books of 
the "Odyssey" was finished in July, but the work 
'of revision and. annotation dragged on into the 
'following year. Pope declared that this " labori- 
ous book " had cost him as much pains as the 
"Iliad," though the drudgery . had not all been 
his own, and he thought it would be found an 
exacter version. "When I translate again," he 
adds with feeling, " I will be hanged ; nay, I will 
do something to deserve to be hanged, which is 
worse, rather than' drudge for such a world as is 
no judge of your labour. I will sooner write 
something to anger it than to please it." 1 
i Pope's two humble assistants were beginning to 
tremble for their share of reputation, if not of profit. 

1 Pope was accustomed to talk as if he wrote solely from 
benevolent motives, to* "do good" to his fellow-men; as if any 
one could be morally the better or the worse for a new translation 
of the "Odyssey." His friends caught the infection of this cant, 
and talke'd about the ingratitude shown by the world towards their 
efforts for its welfare, when they were actually trying to make 
money, or further their political ambitions. 

The Grotto 3 11 

Broome was 'a timid, easy-going man, while Fenton 
was far too lazy to take any steps by himself. 1 
He urged Broome to come to town, in order to go 
into the accounts with Pope. But the Rector of 
Stuston hung back. He wished to leave the business 
part of the undertaking to Fenton, and he suggested 
that the accounts should be allowed to stand over 
till the spring. But he freely confesses that he 
fears a breach 'rather than peace from that treaty. 

"fie assured Mr. Pope will not let us divide I 
fear not give us our due share of honour. He 
is a Caesar in poetry, and will bear no equal" 

Mrs. Howard was in negotiation at this time 
for a piece of land at Richmond, where her royal 
master built her a house known as Marble Hill. 
It was supposed that she would be all-powerful 
in the next reign, and among her many courtiers 
were included. Peterborough, Bathurst, Pope, Gay, 
Arbuthnot, and later onSwift. Some difficulty 
arising about the land surrounding Marble Hill, 
Mr. Walpole was spirited over to Twickenham 
by Lord Peterborough, and swore a round oath 
that the Prince's favourite should have whatever 
grounds she wanted. This visit was the occasion 
of a friendly interview between Walpole and the 
Twickenham poet, who was usually "agin the 
Government." Nothing extraordinary passed at 
the meeting, according to Pope's account, and the 
only extraordinary thing about the affair was that 
he did not. return the minister's visit. Pope had 

1 Fenton was so indolent that he left off fishing because the 
fish bit. He could not bear the trouble of pulling up the rod and 
baiting the hook. 

3" Mr. Pope 

been told, probably by Peterborough, that Walpole 
was a good friend, and kept his promises. .Bat 
"The truth is," to qucrte his own words, " I have 
nothing to ask of him, and I believe he knows 
that nobody -follows him far nothing.'' 11 

Swift had been contemplating a visit to England 
for some time past, his fears of halters and gibbets 
being somewhat abated. He had been deterred 
from carrying out his project by a " cursed deafness " 
that seized him every two or three months, and 
also . by the fact that most of his old friends were 
either banished, attainted, beggared or retired. 
Still, he intended to venture some day, and he 
ordered Pope to provide him with two or three 
harridan ladies who would nurse him when he was 
ill, or talk loud to him when he was deaf. He 
regrets to hear that his friend is again embarked 
to Homerland, and observes that "Lord Oxford 
used to curse the occasions that put you upon 
translations, and if he and the queen had lived you 
should entirely have followed your own genius, 
built and planted much, and wri* only when you 
had a mind." 

Swift was at this time engaged upon "Gulliver's 
Travels," of which Pope says that he has heard 

1 The poet did, however, mention to Sir Robert his desire to 
obtain an abbacy in France for his old friend and priest, Robert 
Southcote. It will be remembered that, twelve years before, when 
Pope was thought to be in a hopeless condition, Southcote had 
consulted Dr. Radcliffe, and returned with the prescription 
"Study less, and ride out every day." Walpole, probably through 
his brother Horace, obtained for Southcote an abbacy at Avignon, 
and Pope ^ never forgot the favour. He told Fortescue that he 
should wait till t'he minister was out of power before he said 
what he thought -of him. 



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From a mezzotint engravluff by Vanlmeckcn after the painting by Markhum. 

Swiff s Misanthropy 313 

great accounts. As for his own travels, he promises 
that they shall never more be in a strange land, 
but he intends a diligent investigation of his own 
territories. In- other words, he will translate no 
more, but produce something domestic, fit for his 
own country and his own time. If Swift will 
come to Twickenham, he promises to find him 
elderly ladies enough that can halloo, and two who 
can nurse, though they are too old and feeble to 
make much noise, namely, his own mother and 

" I can also help you," he continues, " to a lady 
who is as deaf, though not so old as yourself 1 _ 
you will be pleased with one another, I will engage ; 
though you do not hear one another, you will 
converse, like spirits, by intuition. .What you will 
most wonder at is, she is considerable at Court, 
yet no party woman, and lives in Court, yet would 
be easy, and make you easy/* * 

Swift explained that his " Travels" were ready { 

for the press when the world should deserve them, \ 

and declared that the chief end he proposed to i 

himself in all his labours was to vex the world i 

rather than to divert it "If only I could compass 
that design without hurting my own person and \ 

fortune, I would be the most indefatigable writer ; 

you have ever seen, without reading/' He is . I 

delighted to hear that Pope has done with trans- ;: 

lations, and begs that he will give the world one ! 

lash the more at his the dean's special request. ?' 

" I have ever hated all nations, professions, and com- 
munities," he concludes, " and all my love is towards 

1 Mrs. Howard. . 


3H Mr. Pope 

individuals : for instance, I hate the tribe of lawyers, 
but I love Counsellor Such-a~one and Judge Such- 
a~one. . So with physicians I will not speak of 
my own' trade soldiers, English, Scotch, French, 
and' the rest. But principally I hate and detest 
that animal called man, though I heartily love John, 
Peter, Thomas, and so forth. . . ." 

Among the men thus loved was Arbuthnot, who, 
Swift used to say, had every good quality and virtue 
that could . make a man amiable or useful, " but 
alas !' he has a sort of slouch in his walk/' If 
the world had but a dozen men like Arbuthnot in 
it, the dean declared that he would burn his famous 
" Travels." Pope, who professed a kind of universal 
benevolence, must have been shocked at Swift's 
misanthropy, but he was too thoroughly dominated 
by the dean's virile influence to attempt any 
downright protest In his reply he makes a jesting 
allusion to Swift's desire to be employed as an 
avenging angel of wrath, and to break his vial of 
indignation over the heads of the wretched creatures 
of this world. 

" I really enter as fully as you can desire," he 
explains, " into your principle of love of individuals ; 
and I think the way to- have a public spirit is first 
to have a private one; for who can believe, said 
a friend of mine, that any man can care for a 
hundred thousand people who never cared for one? 
No ill-humoured man can ever be a patriot, any 
more than a friend. ..." 

Of the triumvirate, Swift, Pope, and Bolingbroke, 
each thought himself the only true philosopher, 
the only sincere despiser and contemner of the 

Swift's Misanthropy 3*5 

world, while each rebuked the others for self- 
deception and a pretence at Stoicism, Thus, Boling- 
broke, who was in England again this winter, 
assures Swift that he and Pope are very indifferent 
philosophers. " If you despised the world so much 
as you pretend and perhaps believe/ 1 he points out, 
"you would not be so angry with it. The founder 
of your sect (Seneca), that noble original whom 
you think it so great an honour to resemble, was 
a slave to the worst part of the world, to the 
Court ; and all his big words were the language 
of a slighted lover, who desired nothing so much 
as a reconciliation, and feared nothing so much as 
a rupture. I believe ,the world has used me as 
scurvily as most people, and yet I could never find 
in my heart to be thoroughly angry with the simple, 
false, capricious thing. I should blush alike to be 
discovered fond of the world, or piqued at it. 1 

In November Mns. Pope was very ill with 
jaundice, and her son's time was spent in a " trem- 
bling attendance upon death." His old nurse, Mary 
Beach, di-ed on November 5, and, though Mrs. Pope 
recovered, the poet complains that there is f< no 
hour of day or night, but presents to me some 
image of death or suffering." 

To Mary Beach Pope erected a tablet in 
Twickenham Church, and gave her perhaps a better 
memorial in a touching passage in a letter to Lord 
Oxford. <c My poor old nurse," he writes, "who 

1 " Swift's scorn of mankind was the frenzy of disappointment, 
Pope's vaunted contempt was the affectation of superiority, and 
Bolingbroke's acted indifference was the struggle to hide his 
mortification at the sentence of political death which had been 
passed on him " [Elwin]. 

316 Mr. Pope 

has Jived in constant attendance and care of 
dav " mf ^ hCr brCaSt > died the 

A ^ , " And by his side 

A good man's greatest loss, a faithful servant, died ; 

O f not think one of T wn - m ^ 

of a nurse : 

" The tender second, to a mother's cares. 

Homer's 'Odyssey,' 7. 

s sort of friend is not the least ; and.'this 
sort of rdation, when continued through life 
superior to most that we call so." 

an JM ^I 1 " 1 ^ friendshl P that ed between Pope 
and Marth Blount had given a handle to the po,?s 
enermes, and, more especially since the Blounts had 
taken ^country lodgings in his neighbourhood, scandal 
had been sown broadcast concerning the relations 

st":?/ 6 pain Pop ; fanded th " T ^ 

sterted the rumours, and he not only attacked her 

Prtt v th araC M r ; ' r PCrSiStent in his desire that 
Patty should leave her family and live by herself- 

the most .fatal step she could have taken in the 

In a long letter to Caryll, dated December 2 r 
Pope makes a passing .allusion to the "railing 
Papers about the Odyssey, " wh i ch) he sayf 
g>ve him very little concern. Far more serious^ 
the confident asseveration which had been spread 
over the town to the effect that "Your god- 
daughter, Miss Patty, and I lived two or three 
years since ma manner that was reported to you 

Scandal about Martha Blotmt 317 

as giving scandal to many ; that, upon your writing 
to me upon it, I consulted with her, and sent 
you an excusive, alleviating answer, but did after 
that, privately of myself, write to you a full 
confession how much I myself disapproved the way 
of life, and owning the prejudice done her, charging 
it on myself, and declaring that I wished to break 
off what I acted against my conscience, etc., and 
that she, being at the same time spoken to by 
a lady of your acquaintance, at your instigation, 
did absolutely deny to alter any part of her conduct, 
were it tjver so disreputable or exceptionable/' 

Worse still, it was reported that Pope had 
brought Martha acquainted with a noble lord, and 
into an intimacy with some others, merely to get 
quit of her himself. The poet reminds his friend 
that they had conferred together on the subject of 
the scandal, and that Caryll had expressed his 
complete satisfaction with the explanations then 
given. Mrs. Caryll also had written a cordial letter 
to Patty, owning that she had heard of the rumour, 
but all that Pope had told her husband " was so 
highly to your credit and commendation that it 
caused no change in my thoughts about the matter ; 
and I really was glad that you had such a friend 
in the world, nor can I ever hope that anything 
should change him from ever being so to you." 

Pope tried to drive the war into the enemy's 
country by explaining that Martha has had less of 
his conversation during the past two years than ever 
before, and that when they met the time was taken 
up with a " preachment " from him against the evil 
consequences of another sort of company which her 

318 Mr, Pope 

family were inclined to keep. It was the misfortune 

of that household to be governed like a ship-the J, 

head guided by the tail ; and God is my witness," 

he concludes, I am as' much a friend to her soul I* 

asjo her person : the good qualities of the former 

ade me her fnend. No creature has better natural 

dispositions, or would act more rightly and reason- 

. CarylTs belief -in his friend was unaffected by the 
breath of scandal, and for the time being the storm 
;blew over. His reply must have been kind and 
reassuring for upon receiving it Pope wrote, in 
evident relief of mind: 

"I am as confident of your honour as of my 

own. Let lies perish and be confounded, and the 

author of them, if not forgiven, be despised. So 

we men say ; but I am afraid women cannot, and 

;your injured kinswoman is made too uneasy by 

.these amster. practices, which, especially from one's 

! own family, are terrible." 


The End of the " Odyssey " Discontent of 
Broome and Fenton Pope's Benevolence 
Swift's Visit to England; Carriage Accident 

EARLY in 1 726 the three-years' labour on the 
" Odyssey " came to an end. On January 20 
Pope wrote, to acknowledge the very last packet of 
notes from Broome, and to wish him joy on the 
accomplishment of their task. 

For three long years they had dragged their 
common load, lightening each other's toil, and friends 
to the last. " Why/' he asks, " should we not go 
together in triumph, and demand the flitch of bacon 
at Dunmow, or some such signal reward ? " 

Neither Broome nor Fenton felt that their union 
with Pope qualified either of them to demand the 
flitch of bacon. In a postscript to the " Odyssey " 
the senior partner had stated that his assistants were 
only responsible for five books, whereas twelve was 
the actual number. Fenton was too indolent to 
raise more than a faint protest against this mis- 
statement, and that only in a private letter. The 
time-serving Broome, who had expected to gain 
great credit from his connection with Pope, com- 


320- Mr. Pope 

plained that the great man had revised away much 
of the reputation rightly due to his partners. 1 
Worse still, he. had falsely attributed to them certain 
of the more unsuccessful portions of the work. 

x< His -dulness is bright enough to be our glory," 
wrote poor Broome. " He is king of Parnassus, 
and claims what is good in our translation by pre- 
rogative royal. . . . But, in the meantime, where is 
his veracity ? One time or other, the truth shall be 
publicly known. Till then, I give him l^ve to shine 
like a candle in the dark, which is ligh,.d up to its 
own diminution, and shines only to go out in stink." 

Broome was weak enough to sign a statement, 
printed at the end of the translation, to the effect 
that " If my performance has merit either in these 
[the notes] or in any part of the translation, narrfely, 
the sixth, eleventh, and eighteenth books, 3 it is but 
just to attribute it to the judgment and care of 
Mr. Pope, by whose hand every sheet was corrected. 
His other and much more able assistant was Mr. 
Fenton in the fourth and the twentieth books." 
Fenton, who had desired to work anonymously, was 
as near being annoyed at Broome's declaration as 
was possible to one of his easy-going temper, since 
he had " retired to the extremest brink of veracity " 
in his efforts to conceal his share. in the undertaking. 

Broome took care to let his friends know the true 
facts of the case, with the result that the clamour 
against the "undertaker " of the " Odyssey " waxed 
louder and more vehement. Pope was both annoyed 

1 Pope let it be understood that the merit of the work done by 
his assistants was due to his careful revisal and correction. 

* Broome had translated eight books and Fenton four. 

Pope's Benevolence 

and distressed at the hostility which had been 
aroused by his little bit of sharp practice. That he 
was unable to perceive anything reprehensible in his 
own conduct is proved by a letter in which he assured 
Broome, of all people in the world, that he knew 
himself to be an honest and friendly man, nor did 
he think that he had ever acted an unfair or dis- 
reputable part with the public. "This indeed is 
my sore place ; for I care not what they say of my 
poetry, but a man's morals are of a tenderer nature, 
and higher consequence." 

There are proofs enough and to spare that the 
poet, whatever his .principles of honour, was not 
wanting in tenderness, and it is only fair to follow 
the narrative of a shady transaction with an account 
of a kind and generous action. Some fifteen years 
before he had been introduced to a Mrs. Cope, a 
first cousin of Caryll's, whose conversation left a 
most favourable impression on his mind. 1 Mrs. 
Cope had since been deserted by her husband, who, 
while, in service abroad, had bigamously married 
another woman. She had recently gone to France, 
where she hoped to meet her brother, and receive 
some assistance from him. But these hopes proved 
vain. Pope had sent her money some. months be- 
fore, but he now learnt .that her resources were 
exhausted and. that the poor woman, who was in 
failing health, actually wanted bread. He asked 
Caryll to help her, recommended her to the good 

1 On July 19, 1711, Pope wrote to Caryll: U I am infinitely 
obliged to you for bringing me acquainted with Mrs. Cope, from 
whom I heard more wit and sense in two hours than almost all 
the sex ever spoke in their whole lives." 

VOL. I . 2I 

offices of his old friend, the Abbe Southcote, and 
himself undertook to make her a regular allowance 
of twenty pounds a year. 1 

Another instance of his generous sympathy 
towards -poor- ladies shines out of the following 
note to Mrs. Caesar about one of the subscribers to 
the " Odyssey " : 


" Besides the pleasure pf telling you and 
Mr. Caesar how truly I ani your servant, I have 
an occasion to trouble you with an affair of which 
you know more than myself, as I believe; I 
received the enclosed from a lady whom I suppose 
to be of your acquaintance. I beg you to inform 
her (since I see by the date she lives at Hertford) 
that I have sent the three books, as she required, 
to Wyatt the -bookseller's, and. I have added, the 
two last also, which I desire her acceptance of. 
I am entirely a stranger to the circumstances she 
mentions, but sincerely concerned for the misfortune 
of such a change to any person ; if it be, as she 
says, that to make the second payment were an 
imprudence in her condition, I fear the having 
made the first may now be so too ; and you will 
oblige me if you can find any decent way of returning 
those three guineas, which I will righteously repay 
you. I am troubled at such an instance of want 

1 Another protigte of Pope's was a poor girl named Betty 
Fletcher, who,.being sickly and unable to work, was recommended 
by him to the kindness of his old friends, the Dancastles. At the 
time of writing (this letter is undated) the poet explains that he is 
in low water and has learned, much against his will, that charity 
begins at home. Otherwise, he would far rather support Betty 
himself than ask aid of another. 

Swift's Visit to England 3*3 

as this seems to be in one who has (probably) the 
honour to be known to you, and consequently must 
be a concern to you also. 

" " Believe, madam, I am, etc., 

."A. .POPE." * 

In March Swift paid his long-deferred visit to 
England, and made Pope's house his headquarters 
during the four months of his stay. The dean 
brought over the manuscript of " Gulliver's Travels,'* 
for the anonymous publication of which Pope and 
Erasmus Lewis made the arrangements. The 
ostensible object of his visit was to inspect the 
papers at Down Park, with a view to writing the 
life of the late Lord Oxford, a project that was 
never carried out. But the motives that induced 
him to take the journey to England at this time 
were political as well as literary. He desired to 
represent the affairs of Ireland to the Prime 
Minister in " a .true light " that is, a light approved 
by himself. Swift had given notable proof of his 
power by defeating the scheme for " Wood's half- 
pence," and though this could hardly have- made 
him popular with English statesmen, he seems to 
have cherished some lurking hope that by fear, 
if not by favour, he might gain the minister's 
ear, and recover a measure of political influence. 
Then again, the Princess of Wales was known to 
be a lady of strong mind and latitudinarian views. 
When she came into power she would not, like 
Anne, oppose the promotion of a brilliant man 
merely because he was accused of licentious writing. 

1 From the unpublished MS. 

324 Mt% Pope 

Failing the princess, there was Mrs. Howard, the 
.favourite, whose influence might be even more 
useful than that of the future queen. 

But all these hopes and ambitions were doomed 
to- disappointment. The dean was civilly received 
by Walpole, and w^s presented to the princess 
at Leicester House, while, thanks to the introduc- 
tion of Pope and Gay, he quickly became on 
intimate terms with the lady of Marble Hill. On 
March 23 Pope wrote to inform Lord Oxford that 
the'dean had arrived in England, and adds : 

" He is in perfect health and spirits, the joy of 
all here who know him, as he was eleven years ago, 
and I never received a more sensible satisfaction 
than in having been now two days with him." 

If neglected by the politicians, Swift was wel- 
comed with joy by the wits. Not only Pope, but 
Arbuthnot, Congreve, Gay, and Bolingbroke made 
much of him, and accompanied him on his visits 
to the country-houses of his friends. On June 20 
Pope wrote to tell Mrs. Howard, who was then 
at Leicester House, that her cow had got a calf 
which had been christened Calfurnia. 

<c In order to celebrate this birthday, we had 
a cold dinner at Marble Hill, Mrs. Susan offered 
us wine upon the occasion, and upon such an 
occasion we could not refuse it. Our entertainment 
consisted of flesh and fish, and the lettuce of a 
Greek island called Cos. We have some thought 
of dining there to-morrow to celebrate the day 
after the birthday, and on Friday to celebrate 
the day after that, where we intend to entertain 
Dean Swift, because we think your hall the most 

Swift's Visit to England 3 2 5 

delightful room in the world, except that where 
you are/* v 

A few weeks later Swift had just returned from 
a fortnight's ramble with Pope and Gay, and, in 
consequence of Stella's sudden illness v was preparing 
for his departure to Ireland. .It is evident that he 
left his friends with a heavy heart, though he told 
Pope : u I had rather live in forty Irelands than 
under the frequent disquiets of hearing you are out 
of order. I always apprehemi it most after a great 
dinner ; for the least transgression of yours, if it 
be but two bits and one sup more than your stint, 
is a great debauch, for which you certainly pay more 
than those sots who are carried drunk to bed.** l 

In acknowledgment of the hospitality he had 
received at Twickenham, Swift gave his host a 
pair of silver cups engraved with "the following in- 
scription : "Jonathan Swift Alex Pope: Pignus 
amicitae exiguum ingentis." Pope declared that the 
dean's name was engraved elsewhere than upon the 
cups, which he might throw into the Thames without 
injury to his memory of the giver. He found 
himself after Swift's departure like a man in exile, 
for home was no home without the dean. He 
feels as if he had had a limb lopped off, and 
complains: "I shall never more think of Lord 

1 Pope is supposed to have hastened his end by eating high- 
seasoned dishes and drinking spirits. Mrs. Howard sometimes 
reproved him for his intemperance, and Lord Bathurst compli- 
ments her on her candour. "Yesterday," he says in one letter 
to the lady, "I had a little piece of salmon just caught out of the 
Severn, and a fresh .pike that was brought me from the other side 
. of your house out of the Thames. He ate as much as he could 
of both, and insisted upon his moderation, because he made his 
dinner upon one dish." 

Mr. Pope 

Cobham's, the woods of Exeter, or the pleasing 
prospect of Bibury, but your idea must be joined 
with them, nor see one seat in my own garden, 
or one room in my house, without a phantom of 
.you sitting or walking before me." Pope thought 
that he and Swift were the only people among their 
acquaintance qualified to live on the mountains of 
Wales, a phrase which stood for the' Ultima Thule 
in the poet's mouth. "The doctor 1 goes to cards, 
Gay to Court ; one loses money; one loses his time ; 
another of our friends labours to be unambitious, 
but he labours in an unwilling soil. 2 One, lady 
you like has too much of France to be fit for 
Wales. 3 Another is too much a subject to princes 
and potentates to relish that wild taste of .liberty 
and poverty. 4 Mr. Congreve is too sick to bear 
a thin air, and she that leads him too rich to enjoy 
anything. 5 Lord Peterborough can go to any 
climate, but never stay in any. Lord Bathurst is 
too great an husbandman to like barren hills, except 
they are his own to improve." 

Pope's life contained so few V 4 incidents," in the 
dramatic sense of the word, that a carriage accident 
in which he had a narrow escape from drowning 
looms large in the annals of Twickenham. Early 
in September he was driving home from Dawley 
in^Lord Burlington's coach when, owing to a little 
bridge having broken down, he was overturned into 
the water. The windows were up, and the water 
rose as high as the knots of the poet's periwig 

1 Arbuthnot. a Bolingbroke. 

* Lady Bolingbroke. * Mrs. Howard. 

* The young Duchess of Marlborough. 


Carriage Accident 3 2 7 

before the footman could break the glass and get 
him out. Pope got a bad gash across his hand, and 
was afraid that he would lose the use of two fingers, 
but his surgeon assured him that no tendons were 

cut only nerves and that his fingers were safe. 

Gay and Bolingbroke, who both sent accounts of 
the accident to Swift, state that it was the right 
hand which was injured, but Arbuthnot, who, as 
a doctor, ought to have known, says it was the left. 

Pope enjoyed the importance of his adventure, 
and made the worst of his injuries, assuring Swift 
that he had lost two fingers. The dean replied 
that he hoped the statement about the fingers was 
only a jest, since other letters informed him that 
Pope had only lost some blood, which indeed he 
could ill spare, since he had nothing but blood and 
bones to venture. The poet did not soon recover 
from his injury, for as late as November 16 he 
if complains that "the two least fingers of one hand 

| hang impediments to the other." On. the same day 

Voltaire, who was now staying at Dawley with 
Bolingbroke, addressed a belated letter of condolence 
to Pope : 

" I hear this moment of your sad adventure. 
That water you fell in was not Hippocrene's water, 
otherwise it would have respected you. Indeed, I 
am concerned beyond expression for the danger you 
have been in, and more for your -wound. Is it 
possible that those fingers which have written c The 
Rape of the Lock ' and < The Critic/ which have 
dressed 4 Homer ' so becomingly in an English 
coat, should have been so barbarously treated ? Let 
the hand of Dennis, or your poetasters, be cut off; 

3*8 Mr* 'Pope', 

yours Is sacred, I hope, sir, you are now perfectly 
recovered. Really, your accident concerns me as 
much as all the disasters of a master ought to affect 
his^ scholar. I am sincerely, sir, with the admiration 
which you deserve, your most humble servant." * 

Early in November Gulliver's Travels " made 
its appearance anonymously, and the secret of the 
authorship was at first carefully kept. Pope and Gay, 
writing to Swift on November 17, give an interesting 
account of the reception of this book, keeping up 
the fiction that the authorship was unknown. 

" About ten days ago," they relate, "a book 
was published here of the 'Travels' of one 
Gulliver, which has been the conversation of the 
whole town ever since. The whole impression sold 
in a week; and nothing is more diverting than 
to hear the different opinions people give of it, 
though all agree in liking it extremely. It is 
generally said that you are the author ; but I am 
told the bookseller declares he knows not from 
what hand it came. From the highest to the lowest 
it is universally read, from the Cabinet Council to 
the nursery. The politicians, to a man, agree that 
it is free from particular reflections, but 'that the 
satire on general societies of men is too severe. 
Lord [Bolingbroke] is the person who least approves 
of it, blaming it as a design of evil consequence 
to depreciate human nature. ... The Duchess 
Dowager of Maryborough is in raptures at it ; she 
says she can dream of nothing else since she read 

1 Pope did not care for Voltaire, who once drove Mrs. Pope 
from the table at Twickenham by the grossness of his con- 

"Gulliver's Travels " 3*9 

it. She declares that she has now found out that 
her whole life has been lost In caressing the worst 
part of mankind, and treating the best as. her 
foes. . . , Among lady critics, some have found out 
that Mr. Gulliver had a particular malice to maids-. 
Jl of-honour. Those of them who frequent the church 
I say his design is impious, and that it is an insult 
| on Providence, by depreciating the works of the 

I . Creator. Notwithstanding, I am told that the 
I princess has read it with great pleasure. . . It 

j has passed Lords and Commons nemine contra- 

j dicente\ and the whole town, men, women, and' 

; children, are full of it." 

; In a confidential letter written about the same 

j time, Pope openly congratulates the dean upon 

j his book, which he prophesies will be hereafter the 

I wonder of all men. He finds no considerable man 

very angry at the book. Some thought it too bold, 
and too general a satire, but none of any conse- 
quence accused it of any particular reflections, so 
that the author need not have been so secret on 
that head. The dean, in his reply, keeps up 
the fiction that he has no personal connection with 
" Gulliver's Travels/' He says that he has received 
the book, and he discusses various objections that 
have been raised to it, concluding with " a- bishop 
here said that the book was full of improbable lies, 
and, for his part, he hardly believed a word of it; 
and so much for * Gulliver/ " 

" Gulliver " was the sensation of the winter of 
1726-7. Arbuthnot prophesied that the book 
would have as great a run as " The Pilgrim's 
Progress," and wrote to Swift that ''Lord 

330 Mk p ope 

'Scarborough, who is no inventor of stories, told 
|us that he fell in company with a master of a ship, 
who. told him that he was very well acquainted 
with 'Gulliver/ but that the printer had mis- 
. taken : that he lived in Wapping, and not in 
Kotherhithe/' l 

1 Sir Walter Scott, says that Swift was supposed to have given 
the copyright of "Gulliver' 1 to Pope, who sold it for ^300, But 
the negotiations appear to have been conducted through Erasmus 
Lewis, who sold the copyright to Motte for 200, and there is 
;no .evidence that Pope benefited by the sale. 



The "Miscellanies "-Swift's Last Visit to 
England Death of George L Letters to 
Cromwell Gay's Refusal of a Place at 

TOURING Swift's visit to Pope in the summer 
*-J of 1726, the two friends had planned to 
publish some volumes of " Miscellanies," which 
should contain their ephemeral pieces in prose and 
verse. Some of these were the fragmentary pro- 
ductions of the Scriblerus Club, 1 while others were 
personal or topical skits, which, after being passed 
round a friendly circle in manuscript, had been 
snapped by the bookseller and printed without 
permission in catch-penny collections. On March 8 
Pope wrote to the dean : 

" Our c Miscellany ' is now quite printed. I am 
prodigiously pleased with this joint volume, in 
which, methinks, we look like friends side by 
side, serious and merry by turns, conversing 

1 In these Gay and Arbuthnot also had a hand. The more 
important of the pieces published in these early volumes were 
"The Memoir of P. P., Clerk of this Parish," a parody of 
Burners History, " The Key to the Lock/ 1 and the satires on 
Curll, Dennis, and Addison. 


33* ^ pope 

interchangeably, and walking down hand in hand to 
prosperity, not in the stiff forms of learned authors 

- er d setting the rest f *>wnd 

- er ? d setting the rest *>nd 

nought but m a free, unimportant, natural, easy 

d thers just 

The first two volumes appeared in June, but 
were reeved without enthusiasm by the public 

from th? Ce> ^P^ 27 ' '7'* is ' -"doubtedly 
from ..the pen of Pope. According to this com 

position, the two principal authors of the < Miscel- 
lanies, havmg been extremely ill-treated by -the 

booksellers were publishing, for self-protection 
correct co f ^ ^ ^ ^n 

of these had already stolen into the world against 
he wiU of the authors, while others might share 
the .ame fate. The authors admit that they have 

tev K ^ ^ thC levit y f 7outh which 

they regret, but cannot disown, while they.apologise 
for certam raz lenes, more especially those on Additon 
and Vanbrugh. The collection, as a whole, consists 
of the.r fblLcs rather than their studies, their 
idlenesses rather than their works. They console 

hT a ! T th refleCti0 "' n0t t0 ^" Bounded, 
that all the peces are innocent, and that most of 
them have a moral tendency. 

col3 e deClare '" C ndudeS the Preface ' "* this 
collects conta,ns every piece which, in the idlest 

humour, we have written ; not only such as came 
under our rev.ew or correction, but many others 
whKh, however unfinished, are not now in 
our power to suppress. Whatsoever was in our 
own possession at the publishing hereof, or of 

< The Miscellanies 333 

!j which no copy was gone abroad, we have actually 
destroyed to prevent all possibility of the like 
treatment." 1 

Motte bought the copyright of the " Miscellanies " 
for ^22-5, Gay and Arbuthnot receiving 50 for 
their share in the Scriblerus productions, while Swift 
and Pope divided the remainder. The sale of the 
volumes was slow, and Motte was dilatory in 
payment, having to be dunned several times by 
Pope, who was the only man of business among 
the authors concerned. 

Swift paid his last visit to England this year, 
arriving about the middle of April and remaining 
till the end of September. Again he was Pope's 
guest at Twickenham during part of his stay, 
but the arrangement was not altogether a success. 
The dean was suffering from deafness and giddi- 
ness, and these ailments did not improve his 
temper. He could not hear his host's weak voice, 
and Pope's anxious civilities irritated him. " I am 
very uneasy," he writes to Sheridan, " because so 
many of our acquaintance come to see us, and I 
cannot be seen. Besides, Mr. Pope is too sickly 
and complaisant ; therefore I resolve to go some- 
where else." He has described the difficulties 
of intercourse with his friend in the following 
lines : 

Pope has the talent well to speak, 

But not to reach the ear ; 
His loudest voice is low and weak, 

The dean too deaf to hear. 

1 Only two volumes appeared in 1727, a third in 1728, and a 
fourth in 1732, 

334 Mr.. Pope 

. Awhile they on each other look, 

Then different studies choose; 
The dean sits plodding o'er a book, 
. . Pope walks and courts the Muse. 

On June 1 1 George I. died of apoplexy on the 
way to Hanover, and the hopes of the Tory party 
-ran high. Swift and Gay had courted both the 
Princess and Mrs. Howard, and it was thought 
that their fortunes were assured. The dean hoped 
for preferment in England, while Gay confidently 
expected a lucrative place at Court, in return for 
his verses on the future queen, and his "Fables," 
written for the young Duke of Cumberland. It was 
generally believed that the Whigs would be turned 
out, and that Walpole, who had sided with the late 
king against the prince, would be disgraced. But 
bir Robert contrived to gain the ear of the queen 
and presently, to the amazement of politicians and 
courtiers, it was discovered that the reins of govern- 
ment were to be left in his capable, unscrupulous 
hands, while his seat in the saddle of office was even 
firmer than before. Pope, as usual, stood outside 
all the excitement and agitation. For the present, 
he was content to be a spectator, not an actor in 
the political comedy. 

"The great and sudden event which has just 
happened," he wrote to Bethel on June 24, "puts 
the whole world (I mean this whole world) into 
a new state. The only use I have, shall, or wish 
to make of it is to observe the disparity of men 
from themselves in a week's time ; the desultory 
leaping, and catching of new motions, new modes 
new measures; and that strange spirit and life 



. Illness of Stella 335 

with which men, broken and disappointed, resume 
their hopes, their solicitations, their ambitions ! 
It would be worth your while, as a philosopher, to 
be busy in these observations, and to come hither 
to see the fury and bustle of the bees this hot 
season, without coming so near as to be stung by 

. Towards the end of August Swift heard from 
Sheridan that Stella's illness had taken a fatal turn, 
and that she was rapidly sinking. Sick, disap- 
pointed, and heart-broken, Swift could no longer 
bear the complaisance of his Twickenham host 
On the last day of August he went to London, 
where he could be alone with his grief. Sheridan, 
who was anxious about the dean's health, both 
mental and physical, wrote to inquire further news 
of him from Pope. 

" I am both obliged and alarmed by your letter," 
replied the poet. u What you mention of a particular 
friend of the dean's being upon the brink of 
another world gives me great pain ; for it makes 
me, in tenderness to him, wish him with you, and 
at the same time I fear he is not in a condition 
to make the journey. ... He talks of returning to 
Ireland in three weeks, if he recovers sufficiently; 
if not, he will stay here this winter. Upon pretence 
of some very unavoidable occasion, he went to 
London four days since, where I see him as often 
as he will let me. I was extremely concerned at 
his opini&tr&ti in leaving me; but he shall not get 
rid. of the friend, though he may of the house." 

Swift told no one . of Stella's illness, and he 
shunned his friends during the last days of his 

336 Mr. p ope 

stay, He returned to Ireland at the end of 
September, and remained with Stella till her death in 
the following January. Pope was hurt at the dean's 
abrupt departure, . but he wrote in his usual 
friendly style to condole with him on his broken 
health. . 

"I was sorry to find you could think yourself 
easier in any house than in mine," he says, though 
at the same time . I can allow for a tenderness 
in your way of thinking, even 'when it seemed to 
want ^that tenderness." Swift replied in what was, 
for him, an apologetic tone. He had thought it 
best, considering his health, to return to his own 
home, where, with a large house, and his own 
servants about him, he could be, sick and deaf 
without making his friends uneasy. 

"You are the best and kindest creature in the 
world/' he continues, "and I know nobody, alive 
or dead, to whom I am so much obliged ; and if 
ever you- made me angry it was for your too much 
care about me. . . . But it has pleased God that 
you are not in a state of health to be mortified 
with the care and sickness of a friend. Two sick 
friends never did well together: such an office, 
is fitter for servants and humble companions, to 
whom it is wholly indifferent whether we give 
them trouble or no. The case would be quite 
otherwise -if you were with me ; you could refuse 
to see anybody, and here is a large house where we 
need not hear each other if we were both sick. 
I have a race of orderly, elderly people of both 
sexes at command, who are of no consequence, and 
have gifts proper for attending us who can bawl 

Letters to Cromwell 337 

when I am "deaf, and tread softly when I am only 
giddy and would sleep.'* 

Pope's own health was worse than usual in the 
autumn of this year. " My old complaints of the 
stomach," he tells Caryll, " are turned into an 
inveterate colic, which seldom leaves me in any 
lively sensation of life for two days together." He 
begs once again for the return of his letters, having 
before his eyes the fear of a rascally bookseller, 
who had lately printed some that were very unfit 
to see the light. This is an allusion to a small 
collection of his youthful letters to Henry Cromwell, 
which had been sold by that gentleman's ex-mistress, 
Mrs. Thomas, to Curll, and published the previous 
year. They attracted a good deal of attention at 
the time admiration from the poet's friends for 
their noble sentiments and reprobation from his 
enemies for certain loose expressions. Fenton, 
commenting on the volume in a letter to Broome, 
remarks ironically that he is delighted with nothing 
more than with " that air of sincerity, those pro- 
fessions of esteem and respect, and that deference 
paid to his friend's judgment in poetry, which I 
have .sometimes seen expressed to others, and I 
doubt not with the same cordial affection." 

Pope openly declared that the letters must have 
been stolen, since Cromwell at first denied that he 
had given them away ; but Mrs. Thomas wrote to 
her former protector to explain- that she had lent 
some of them to an- ingenious person, who was so 
delighted with them that he had conveyed them 
to the press, not altogether with her consent nor 
wholly without it. She had thought them too good 

VOL I 22 

338 Mr. Pope 

to be lost in oblivion, and did not imagine that 
their publication would annoy anybody. 

"The public, viz. all persons of taste and 
judgment," she argues, u would be pleased with so 
agreeable an amusement ; Mr. Cromwell could not 
be angry since it was but justice to his merit to 
publish the solemn and private professions of love, 
gratitude, and veneration made him by so celebrated 
an author ; and surely Mr. Pope ought not to resent 
the publication, since the early pregnancy of his 
genius was no dishonour to his character. And yet, , 
had either of you been asked, common modesty 
would have obliged you to refuse what you would not 
be displeased with, if done without your knowledge. 
And , besides to end all dispute you had been- 
pleased to make me a free gift of them, to do .what 
I pleased with them. . . ." 

On July 6 Cromwell wrote to explain to Pope 
that when Dennis had charged him with giving the 
letters to a mistress, he had positively denied it ; but, 
when other letters addressed to <c Sappho " appeared 
in the papers, he began to fear that he must be 
guilty. He says that he has not seen " Sappho " for 
seven years, and that her assertion' that he had given 
her the letters to do as she would with them is 
straining the point too far. 

" The great value she expresses for all you 
write," he continues, " and her passion for having 
them, I believe, was what prevailed upon me to let 
her keep them. ... As people in great straits 
bring forth from their hoards of old gold and 
most valued jewels, so Sappho had recourse to 
her hid treasure of letters, and played off not only 

Gay's Refusal of a Place at Court 339 

yours to me, but all those to herself, as the kdy's 
last stake, into the press. As for me, I hope when 
you shall coolly consider the many thousand in- 
stances of our" being deluded by the females, 
since that great original of Adam by Eve, you 
will have a more favourable thought of the unde- 
signing error of your faithful friend and humble 
servant," ' 

George II. was crowned on October n. A little 
later the queen's household was settled, and Gay, 
who for so long had. waited open-mouthed for a 
place, was appointed Gentleman-usher to the little 
Princess Louisa, a child of two. Though the post 
was practically a sinecure, worth ^"150 a year, Gay 
foolishly refused it on the ground of his advanced 
age he being then thirty-nine. In reality, he was 
bitterly disappointed at not having been offered a 
place of more importance, after twelve years' patient 
attendance on Court favour. His friends were ill- 
advised enough to applaud his independent spirit,, 
though that independence left him at the mercy of 

Pope wrote a long congratulatory letter to Gay 
on this " happy dismission from Court dependence." 
He -expects to find his friend the better and 
honester man for it many years hence, and probably 
the healthfuller and cheerfuller into the bargain. 
" Princes and peers (the lackeys of princes), and 
ladies (the fools of peers), will smile on you less ; 
but men of worth, and real friends, will look on 
you the better. The only steps to the favour of the 
great are such complacencies, such compliances, such 
distant decorums, as delude them in their vanities, as 

34 Mr. Pope 

engage them in their passions. 1 He is their greatest 
favourite who is the falsest;, and when a man, by 
such yde gradations, arrives at the height of grandeur 
and power, he is then at best but in a circumstance 
.to' be hated and in a condition to be hanged for 
serving their ends." The letter concludes with the 
promise: "While I have a shilling you shall have 
sixpence, nay, eightpence, if I can contrive to live 
upon a groat." 

' ; Swift, being urged by Pope to congratulate Gay 
upon his folly, wrote a poetical epistle, in the course 
of which he indignantly inquires : 

; Say, had the Court no better place to choose 

i For thee, than make a day-nurse of thy Muse ? 

, How cheaply had thy liberty been sold 

i To squire a. royal girl of two years old ; 

.i In leading-strings her infant steps to guide, 

! Or with her go-cart amble by her side ! 

!_> This comes strangely enough from a man who gloried in 
his familiarity with "great men." 


44 The Beggar's Opera "~ Third Volume of the 
44 Miscellanies " " The Bathos " Counter- 

THE year 1728 was an eventful one in the 
chronicle of Pope's life, as also in that of his 
nearest friends. It was the year of " The Dunciad," 
The Beggars Opera, and the famous third volume 
of the " Miscellanies." " Gulliver's Travels " was 
still " the book of the day " in London and Dublin. 
It is remarkable that three intimate friends should, 
in the space of nine months, have produced three 
works of sensational popularity, and that two out 
of the three should have attained a lasting fame, 

It had been an open secret for some time past 
that Pope was engaged on a poem called " Dulness," 
and Swift, .1 who had seen it in manuscript, and 
knew that it contained a complimentary address to 
himself, was eager for its appearance. Pope, how- 
ever, had his own reasons for holding it back, and 
The Beggar's Opera was allowed the precedence. 

"John Gay's opera is just on the point of 
delivery," wrote Pope to Swift in January. " It 


Mr, Pope 

may be called, considering its subject, a jail-delivery. 
... Whether it succeeds or not, it will make a 
great noise, but whether in claps or hisses I know 
not. At worst, it is in its own nature a thing 
.which he can lose no reputation by, as he lays 
none upon it." 

The " great noise "~ proved to be of claps, not 
hisses, and on February 15 Gay was able to send 
a glowing account of the success of his work, 
which was being acted to crowded houses every 
night It had the then extraordinary run of thirty- 
two consecutive nights, and was played, in- all, 
sixty-two nights in the course of the season. In the 
letter to Swift Gay congratulates himself on having 
a made no interest either for approbation or money, 
nor has. anybody been pressed to take tickets* for 
my benefits, notwithstanding which I think I shall 
make an addition to my fortune of between six and 
seven hundred pounds. ... Lord Cobham says 
that I should have printed it (the opera) in Italian 
over against the English, that the ladies might have 
understood what they read. The outlandish (as 
they now call it) opera has been so thin of late 
that some have called that < The Beggar's Opera,' 
and if the run continues I fear I shall have re- 
monstrances drawn up against me by the Royal 
Academy of Music." 

Swift was anxious, according to his wont, that 
Gay should make the best of .his success, and 
husband his fortune. He hopes that Gay -has 
dedicated his opera, and got the usual fee of twenty 
guineas. He ought also to buy an annuity, and 
put a ring-fence round his little capital. The dean 

" The Beggar's Opera " 343 

is annoyed at the idea that "the dog Rich/' Gay's 
impresario, should make three or four thousand 
pounds by sitting still ; he ought certainly to make 
his author a "present of two or three hundred 
guineas. The Beggar's Opera presently found 
its way to Ireland, where it " knocked down 
* Gulliver/ " and was continually acted, the house 
being crammed, and the Lord-Lieutenant " laughing 
his heart out. 1 ' 

The popularity of the work was increased by 
stories about the way the ministers took the political 
allusions, and rumours concerning the love-affairs 
of the famous Polly Peachem (Miss Fenton), who 
eventually become Duchess of Bolton. The opera 
was preached against as well as applauded, and 
while Swift declared that to expose vice and make 
people laugh with innocence did more good than 
all the ministers of State from Adam to Walpole, 
there were not wanting sober heads who averred 
that the hero-worship of Macheath and his fellows 
made highway robbery a fascinating profession, and 
that every time the work was performed it sent a 
thief to the gallows. 

Early in the year Pope told the dean that the 
third volume of their " Miscellanies " was shortly 
to appear, among the contents being "The 
Bathos ; I or, the Art of Sinking in Poetry/' 
which he has entirely methodised, and " in a manner 
written it all." He is sorry that he cannot yet 
send his chef-<? au^re^ the poem on " Dulness," 
which, after he is dead and gone, will be printed 
with a large commentary, and lettered oa the back 
1 Also called " The Profund." 

344 Mr* Pope 

" Pope's Dulness/' He sends the "Address" to 
Swift, however, which he begs his friend to consider, 
reconsider^ criticise, hypercriticise, and .consult about 
with Sheridan, Delany, and all the "literary of 
Dublin.' 11 .- - 

A month later Bolingbroke writes that Pope's 
"Dulness " grows and flourishes, " It will indeed 
be a noble work; the many will stare at it, the 
few will smile, and all his patrons, -from 'Bicker- 
stafF to < Gulliver,' will rejoice to see themselves 
adorned in that immortal piece/ 1 All this whetted 
Swift's interest and curiosity. " Now why does v not 
Mr. Pope publish his l Dulness ' ? " he asked Gay. 
"The rogues he mawls will die of themselves in 
peace, and so will his friends, and so there will be 
neither punishment nor reward. 11 

Pope's reason for delaying the appearance of 
"The Dunciad" seems to have been due to his 
desire that so tremendous a satire should have more 
justification for .its existence than the skits, which 
hadi already appeared against him. He published 
the third volume of the tc Miscellanies" in March, in 
the hope that the personal attacks in " The Bathos " 
would "draw" the various writers ridiculed. It 
was a case -of " Will you tread on the tail of my 

The satire was, in the main, as legitimate as it 

1 And thou ! whose sense, whose humour, and whose rage 
At once can teach, delight, and lash the age, 
Whether thou choose Cervantes' serious air, 
Or laugh and shake in Rabelais' easy chair ; 
Praise courts and inonarchs, or extol mankind ; 
Or. thy grieved country's copper chains unbind ; 
Attend, whatever title please thine ear, 
Bean, Drapier, Bickerstaff, or Gulliver. 

;.**- ~\ 

a mezzotint lyj. Simon after the patntinjc by M.Dahl, 17*7. 


Third Volume of the "Miscellanies 345 

was lively, but there was one section which con- 
sisted merely of stupid personalities. This deals, 
with the several kinds of geniuses in "The Pro- 
fund,' 1 and the" marks and characters of each. The 
writers are compared to various species of birds, 
fishes, and reptiles, and the initials of their names 
in each case are given. Pope afterwards declared 
that he had put the letters at random. The 
poet's old enemies appear among them Dennis, 
Gildon, and Oldmixon, as porpoises, Ambrose 
Philips as a tortoise, Webster and Theobald as 
eels, Edward Ward and James Modre (afterwards 
. Moore-Smythe) as frogs. The unfortunate Broome, 
who had done so much for Pope, signed a false 
postscript, giving up the credit of five books, and 
furnished the notes to the "Iliad" gratis, appears 
both as- a parrot and a tortoise. A couplet from 
Broome's " Epistle to Fentou " is also, quoted in 
the chapter on The True Genius for the Profund, 
and by what it is constituted/' 

But Blackmore is the chief victim, the majority 
of lines quoted in illustration of c< The Bathos" 
being taken from his poems. Blackmore's crime 
had been that, in his " Essay on Polite Writing " 
(1717) he had said, after alluding with abhorrence 
to profane wit, "I cannot but here take notice that 
one of these champions of vice is the reputed 
author of a detestable paper that has lately been 
handed about in manuscript, and now appears in 
print, in which the godless author has burlesqued 
the First Psalm of David in so obscene and profane 
a manner that perhaps- no age ever saw such an 
insolent affront to the established religion of their 

346 Mr. Pope 

country, and this, good heaven ! with impunity. 
A sad demonstration, this, of the low ebb to which 
British virtue is reduced in these degenerate 


Next to Blackmore, Theobald was the main butt. 
Pope had nursed his wrath against " the Restorer " 
of Shakespeare for two years, and he now gave 
vent to his spleen, hoping no doubt, that Theobald 
would retaliate as viciously, and thus justify his 
election as hero of "The Dunciad." Several 
quotations are made from passages in Theobald* s 
plays to illustrate the art of sinking in poetry, 
but the most venomous, as also the most brilliant, 
onslaught is made in some lines entitled "A Frag- 
ment of a Satire.'* These contain, besides "The 
Character of Addison/' the almost . equally famous 
passage relating to such verbal critics as Sewell and 
Theobald. After a slash at Gildon and Dennis, 
the satirist continues : 

Did some more sober critic come abroad 

If wrong, I smiled ; if right, I kissed the rod. 

Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence, 

And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense. 

Commas and points they set exactly right, 

And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite ; 

In future ages how their fame will spread 

For writing triplets and restoring td : 

Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel graced these ribalds, 

From sanguine Sew (ell) l down to piddling Tibbalds : 

1 George Sewell, a dramatic writer, who had the temerity to 
publish a seventh volume of " Shakespeare," as a supplement 
to Pope's edition* When the satire was embodied in the " Epistle 
to Arbuthnot," Bentley took the place of Sewell, and the line 


From slashing Bentley down to piddling Tibbalds, 

Counterattacks 347 

Each wight who reads not, and but scam and spells, 
Each word-catcher that lives on syllables, 
Even such small critics some regard may claim, 
Preserved in Milton's, or in Shakespeare's name. 
Pretty ! in amber to observe the forms 
Of hair, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms ! 
The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare, * 
But wonder how the devil they got there. 

It is generally believed, owing, to the industry 
with which Pope propagated the story, that the 
press and booksellers' shops were flooded with 
scurrilous pamphlets, articles, and letters from victims 
of "The Bathos," all aimed at the character or 
person of their persecutor. But this is a gross 
exaggeration. In the two months that elapsed 
between the publication of the " Miscellanies " and 
the appearance of " The Dunciad," the more cele- 
brated of the persons satirised kept silence, while 
the so-called "attacks" which found their way into 
the papers were few in number, and, with one or 
two exceptions, of slight importance. 

A temperate and dignified letter from Theobald 
appeared in Mists Journal for April 27. If Pope 
is angry with him for having attempted to restore 
Shakespeare, he hopes that the public is not, and 
trusts that his sheets may awaken his rival editor 
to same degree of accuracy in his next edition. 
He had treated him with deference, even tender- 
ness, but to set anything right after Mr. Pope had 
adjusted the whole was a presumption not to be 
forgiven. As his . u Remarks on the whole Works 
of Shakespeare" would closely attend upon the 
publication of Pope's second edition, Theobald 

348 Mr. Pope 

ventured to promise he would then give above 
five hundred more emendations that would escape 
Mr. Pope and all his assistants. He steadily refused 
to make any answer to the personal attacks against 
himself. Blackmore, Defoe/Ducket, Aaron Hill, 
Philips, Ward, and Welsted made no answer at 
this time. 

In a very different vein was Dennis's reply. 
When it came to playing with initial letters, he 
too could take a hand in the game. For example, 
the letters A.P-e gave the same idea of an ape 
as the c< little gentleman's " face, shape, and stature, 
while his nature was as ludicrously mischievous as a 
monkey's. Dennis scoffs at the report that this 
"animalculae of . an author" was writing "The 
Progress of Dulness," since those who had 
read his books had already seen the progress of 

But the most damaging counter-attack was one 
which appeared in Mists Journal for March 30, 
by a writer whose identity has never been discovered. 
Pope attributed it to Theobald, but it is quite 
unlike Theobald's style. Entitled " An Essay on the 
Art of a Poet's sinking in Reputation,' 1 the author 
gives advice as to the manner in which this feat 
may best be performed. He should throw out 
frequent compositions in the three different styles 
of the Vituperative, the Prurient, and the Atheistical, 
wjiile he should dedicate the Prurient to a patroness 
of unquestioned virtue. In revising, let him forget 
even to discharge the dull duty of an editor, and 
.when he is upon such a project let .him generously 
lend the disadvantage of his name to promote the 

Counter-attacks 349 

discredit of an exorbitant subscription. He should 
push upon the world three new "Miscellany" 
volumes of old and second-hand wares. He should 
descend . into Homer without understanding the 
meaning of Greek, and get a great part of his 
work done by assistants. This satire annoyed 
Pope more than any Other attack, and he took a 
good deal of trouble to clear himself of the charges 
brought against him. 

Fenton was delighted with the paper, which, he 
tells Broome, was evidently written by one who 
had studied and understood the poet. Fenton had 
not then seen the " Miscellanies," but was very much 
surprised to hear that Broome had been traduced 
by a person from whom he could little expect such 
ungenerous treatment. If Broome does not intend 
to answer the challenge publicly, the sullen silence 
of Ajax will be the most manly revenge. Broome 
had been deeply hurt by Pope's ingratitude, though 
he was too weak or too timid to take up the cudgels 
in his own defence, whether privately or publicly. 
But he complained bitterly to Fenton. Pope, he 
says, has now raised a spirit against him, which 
he will not easily conjure down. " He now keeps 
his Muse as wizards are said to keep tame devils, 
only to send them abroad to plague their neigh- 
bours. I often resemble him to a hedgehog ; he 
wraps himself up in his down, lies snug and warm, 
and sets his bristles out against all mankind. Sure 
he is fond of being hated. I wonder he is not 
thrashed, but his littleness is his protection. ..." 

Broome declared that he would keep silence then, 
but would leave behind him memorials that would 

350 Mr. Pope 

make posterity acquainted with the history of the 
false statements about the " Odyssey," and con- 
cludes : "With respect to Mr. Pope, I have found 
him what you always affirmed him to be a most 
insincere person." 


. "The Dunciad" 

ON May 18, 1728, appeared the first edition 
of "The Dunciad," but without the authors 
name or the inscription to Swift. Pope was always 
willing to wound, and seldom afraid to strike, but 
he shrank from the natural consequences of his 
own violence. As a measure of protection, it was 
stated on the title-page that the book was printed 
in Dublin and reprinted in London, while the 
publisher bore the unknown name of A. Dodd, 
There was a frontispiece representing an owl sitting 
on a pile of books, which consisted of " Dennis's 
Works, 1 ' "Gibber's Plays," "Shakespeare Restored," 
and Blackmore's " Prince Arthur." The Prefatory 
Address from the Publisher to the Reader is a curious 
composition, and deserves some examination, since it 
was certainly written by Pope. 

The publisher observes that when any scandal is 
vented against a man of the highest distinction and 
character, the public afford it a. quiet, and even 
favourable, reception, whereas if a known scoundrel 
is touched upon a whole legion is up in arms. 
For the last two months the town had been per- 


35* Mr. Pope 

secuted with pamphlets, letters, and essays against 
the writings and character of Mr. Pope, yet not 
one. of those who had received pleasure from his 
works by a t modest computation about a hundred 
thousand had stood up to say a word in his 
defence. The only exception was the author of 
the following poem. The publisher professes to 
be in ignorance of .his identity, but observes that 
he had evidently lived in peculiar intimacy with 
Mr. Pope, whose style he had to some extent 
imitated. The reader was evidently intended to 
draw the inference that Swift was the author*. It 
is further stated that this work was the labour of 
full six years of the author's life, and that he had 
retired himself from all the avocations and pleasures 
of the world to attend diligently to its correction ^and 
perfection; The time and date of the action were 
evidently laid in the preceding reign, when the 
office of City Poet expired upon the. death of 
Elkanah Settle, 1 and the author had chosen the year 
of Sir George Thorold's mayoralty- 1720 but the 
writers satirised had been clapped in as they rose, 
and changed from day to day, so that there might 
be some obscurity in the chronology. 

From an account afterwards published by Savage, 
as the mouthpiece of Pope, it would appear that 

1 Elkanah Settle (1648-1724) was appointed City Poet in 1691. 
He was known as a writer of heavy, bombastic dramas, of which the 
most successful was Cambyses^ King of Persia., Dryden, alarmed 
at his popularity, satirised him in the second part of * Absalom and 
Achitophel." In his later years Settle fell upon evil times. He 
was reduced to writing burlesques for Bartholomew Fair, and is 
said to have played the part of a dragon, in one of his own "drolls." 
H e died in the Charterhouse. 




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Facsimile of title-page of an early edition, 

"The Pundad". 353 

the hack writers who took to themselves the initials, 
gave Mr, Pope the thought that he had now some 
opportunity of . doing good" by detecting and 
dragging into light these common enemies of man- 
kind, since to invalidate this universal slander it 
sufficed to show what contemptible men were the 
authors of it. u He was not without hopes that, 
by manifesting the dulness of those who had only 
malice to recommend them, either the booksellers 
would not find their account in employing them, or 
the men themselves, when discovered, want courage 
to proceed in so unlawful an occupation. This it 
was that gave birth to 'The Dunciad/ and he 
thought it a happiness that, -by the late flood of 
slander on himself, he had acquired such a peculiar 
right over their names as was necessary to this 
design. ... It is certainly a true observation, that 
no people are so impatient of censure as those who 
are the greatest slanderers ; which was wonderfully 
exemplified on this occasion. On the day the book 
was first vended a crowd of authors besieged the 
shop ; entreaties, advices, threats of law and battery, 
nay, cries of Treason,' were all employed to 
hinder the coming out of ' The Dunciad ' ; on 
the other side, the booksellers and hawkers made 
as great efforts to procure it : what could a few 
poor authors do against so great a majority- as the 
public?" 1 

" The Dunciad " was obviously founded on 
Dryden's satire " Mac Flecknoe," which deals with 

1 This garbled and exaggerated account formed the Introduction 
to "A Collection of pieces in Prose and Verse which have been 
published on the Occasion of ' The Dunciad ' " (1732). 
VOL. I 23 

Mr. Pope 


uuui^b. me iirst book opens Rafter 

exord mm) ^ a description of the Te" p Tf h 
Gdddess of Dulness, a yawning ruin near Rag Fair 
Here she beholds the chaos dark aad deep "' 

TmS\ *> S methingS in their sleep : 
I HI genial Jacob or a warm third day 

Calls forth each mass, a poem, or a p i ay . 



written. Look at Pope- W Unfair ' if wel1 

Now night descending, the proud scene was o'er 
But lived m Settle's numbers one day more 

"The Dunciad" 355 

Now mayors and shrieves in pleasing slumber lay, 
And eat in dreams the custard of the day ; 
But pensive poets painful vigils keep, 
Sleepless themselves to give their readers sleep. 

The solemn feast recalls many fond memories to 
the goddess's mind, her glories in the past, and the 
successes of her distinguished sons, Eusden Black^ 
more, Philips, Dennis, and their fellows. Looking- 
about for a worthy successor to Settle, her glance 
fell upon Tibbald (Theobald). 

She eyed the bard where supperless he sate 
And pined, unconscious of his rising fate ; 
Studious he sate, with all his books around, 
Sinking from thought to thought, a vast profound ; 
Plunged for his sense, but found no bottom there : 
Then writ and floundered on, in mere despair. 

A description of Tibbald's Gothic library follows, 
with its folios and black-letter editions 

The classics of an age that heard of none. 

The hero addresses a solemn invocation to the 
goddess, whose champion he constitutes himself, and 
implores her to stretch out her peaceful wand over 
Britain, and secure us kindly in our native night. 
He describes in eloquent terms his own services 
in her good old cause : 

Here, studious, I unlucky moderns save, 
Nor sleeps one error in its father's grave ; 
Old puns restore, lost blunders nicely seek, 
And crucify poor Shakespeare once a week. 
For thee 1 dim these eyes and stuff this head 
With all such reading as was never read ; 
For thee supplying, in the worst. of days 
Notes to dull books and prologues to dull plays ; 

356 Mr, Pope 

For thee explain a thing till all men doubt it. 
And write about it, goddess, and about it. 

Theobald fears that the end of the empire of 

Dulness is -approaching, owing to the death of 

Settle. He resolves, like Curtius, to plunge for the 

public weal, and devote himself henceforth to the 

service 'of the good cause. He builds an altar, and 

is about to offer up his. books as a sacrifice, when 

the goddess appears and extinguishes the flames with 

a sheet of "Thule." l She bids Theobald attend her 

to the sacred dome, and here shows her chosen 

all her favourite works, and the methods by which 

her followers attain her ends : 

How, with less reading than makes felons 'scape, 
Less human genius than God gives an ape, 
Small thanks to France, and none to Rome or Greece, 
A past, vamped, future, old, revived, new piece. 
Twixt Piautus, Fletcher, Congreve and Corneille 
Can make a Gibber, Johnson, or Ozell 8 

The goddess here anoints Theobald as successor 
to Settle, and as the ruler who is to lead her sons 
to lands that flow with clenches 3 and with puns : 

" Till each famed theatre my empire own,' 

Till Albion, as Hibernia, bless my throne. 

I see ! . I see ! " Then rapt, she spoke no more. 

" God save King Tibbald ! " Grub Street alleys roan 

The king having been duly proclaimed, the 

1 An unfinished .poem of Ambrose Philips. 

* John Ozetl. He was an accountant by profession, and became 
Auditor-General to the City of London. He translated Boileau's 
"Lutrm" and Perrault's "Characters." He is the subject of 
some satirical lines by Pope, entitled "The Translator." 

* The word " clench," or, as it was more often spelt, " clinch," 
seems to have meant much the same as a pun. 

44 The Dunciad" 357 

ceremony is graced by public games and competitions, 
instituted by the goddess in person. 1 Hither flock 
poets and patrons, critics, party-writers, and book- 

A motley mixture ! in long wigs, in bags, 

In silks, in crapes, in garters, and in rags ; 

From drawing-rooms, from colleges, and from garrets, 

On horse, on foot, in hacks and gilded chariots. 

The games open with a race for booksellers, and 
the goddess puts up a " poet's form " as the prize, 
no meagre, muse-rid mop 

But such a bulk as no twelve bards could raise, 
Twelve starving bards of these degenerate days. 
All as a partridge plump, full-fed and fair, 
She formed this image of well-bodied air, 
\Vith pert, flat eyes she windowed well its head, 
A brain of feathers and. a heart of lead, 
And empty words she gave, and sounding strain ; 
But senseless, lifeless ! Idol void and vain ! 
Never was dasht out, at one lucky hit, 
A fool, so just a copy of a wit : 
So like, that critics said, and courtiers swore^ 
A wit it was, and called the phantom Moore ! 2 

1 Founded on the games in the " Iliad," where Thetis herself 
proposed the prizes in honour of Achilles.. 

* James Moore-Smythe (1702-34). He took the name of 
Smythe on inheriting the estate of an uncle. He was an intimate 
friend and correspondent of the Blount sisters. Pope's quarrel with 
him arose out of an alleged act of plagiarism. Moore, a fop 
who desired to be regarded as a wit, wrote a comedy called The 
Rival ModeS) which was produced in 1727. He asked permission, 
it is said, to use six lines of Pope's from some verses addressed to 
Martha Blount on her birthday, which appeared in the "Mis- 
cellanies." These lines, which were afterwards incorporated in the 
Second " Moral Essay," ran as follows ; 

J Tis thus that vanity coquettes rewards, 
A youth of frolics, an old age of cards ; 

Mr. Pope 

, Lintot and Curll compete for the prize, which 
Curll wins, but when he stretches out his hand to 
grasp the phantom, it melts from his sight. Curll 
tnes to seize its papers, but these, as plagiarisms, 
..are wh is ked back to their rightful owners, Gay 
loung, and Swift. Even the embroidered suit is 
snatched away by an unpaid tailor, and the book- 
seller is left with 

No rag, no scrap, of all the beau or wit 
i > That once so fluttered, and that once so writ. 

| Next comes a tickling-match, carried out by means 
of flattering dedications, and a rich patron is the 
prize. _ This is followed by a competition for in general and braying in particular, with a 
drum and catcalls for the prizes. 

Now thousand tongues are heard in one loud din 
ne monkey-mimicks rush discordant in ; 

s chatt'ring, grinning, mouthing, jabb'ring all, 
K[alph] * and railing, Brangling, and B[reval], s 

Fair to no purpose, artful to no end, 

Voung without lovers, old without a friend. 

A fool their aim, their prize some worn-out sot, 

Alive ridiculous, and dead forgot. 

Pope seems at first to have consented that the lines should be 
?A h e afterwards changed his mind. Moore, however, 
.ntroduce dthem, together with some lines from the " Essay on 

faiw?'V nt0 r" S C D medy) Whidl th y P artia "y Adeemed from 
failure. Thereafter Pope seldom lost an opportunity for a slash 
at Moore-Smythe. , 

' James Ralph (c. 1705-62). A miscellaneous writer born in 
lennsylvama, who accompanied Franklin to England in 1724. 
He was very successful as a party-hack, and eventually obtained a 
pension of ,600 a year. 

' John Durant Breval (c. 1680-1738). Another miscellaneous 
wnter, who had served m Flanders as a volunteer. He usually 
wrote under the pseudonym of Joseph Gay. It may be noted that 

"The Dunciad" 359 

D[ennis] and dissonance ; and captious art, 
And snip-snap short, and interruption smart. 

In this sport all alike are held winners, since their 
merits and din are equal, but the brayers* prize is 
won by Blackmore. 

All hail him victor in both gifts of song, 
Who sings so loudly, and who sings so long. 

. The competitors then descend by Bridewell to 
Fleet Ditch, where the party-writers are bidden to 
strip and leap in, and prove who best can dash 
through thick and thin 

And who the most in love of dirt excel, 

Or dark dexterity of groping well; 

Who flings most mud, and wide pollutes around 

The stream, be his the [London] Journals, bound. 

A pig of lead is offered to him who dives the 
best, and " a peck of coals a-piece shall glad the 
rest." Dennis, Eusden, 1 Aaron - Hill, 2 Welsted, 3 
and lesser wights compete. The prize is gained by 

the names of the victims are not always the same, but vary in 
different editions of " The Dunciad." 

1 Laurence Eusden (1688-1730), who had been appointed Poet 
Laureate by the Duke of Newcastle in 1718. 

* Aaron Hill (1685-1750), dramatist, journalist, inventor, and 
traveller. He had already attacked Pope in a preface to his 
poem, "The Northern Star," having heard that Pope had dis- 
paraged that composition. He was afterwards reconciled to the 
poet, who treated him leniently in "The Bathos," and the two 
corresponded amicably for several years. 

3 Leonard Welsted (1688-1747). He was one of the many 
minor poets who held a small place under Government. -He had 
satirised Pope and Gay in his poem, " The Triumvirate ; or, a 
Letter from Palemon to Celia at Bath," published as far back as 

360 Mr. Pope 

Ped bard* The 
cassock and 

o th 
b= granted 

Jdfof,llp re!ent 

fcre h OP '^ ' hTO ^ T P'- 
vulgar fir riJ"!,, 1100 ^ ? re brou 8"' -, 
um! gl the dcrfc!1 "<""< -the 


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rp, t one azv ton^ 

( ' 69 - I720 >- H. was 

of Hoadley, successi^.y B sp f K j? ^ ' hc 

Chester. He had attacked / tf \ ?' sbury> and wi - 


"The Duridad* 3* 

As to soft gales top-heavy pines bow low 
Their heads, and lift them as they cease to blow ; 
Thus oft they rear, and oft the head decline, 
As breathe or pause, by fits, the airs divine ; 
And now to this side, now to that they nod, 
As prose or verse infuse the drowsy god. 

At length readers and audiences alike are over- 
come by sleep, " and all was hushed as Folly's self 
lay dead." 

In Book III. the goddess transports the new king 
to her temple, and there allows him to sleep with 
his head on her lap. In his dreams he is carried 
- on easy Fancy's wing to the Elysian shades, where 
he is met by the ghost of Settle, who takes him 
to the Mount of Vision, whence he may view the 
triumphs of the Empire of Dulness in the past, 
the present, and the future. The great father thus 
addresses the greater son : 

How little, see ! that portion of the ball 
Where, faint at best, the beams of science fall ! 
Against her throne, from hyperborean skies, 
Jn dulncss strong, th' avenging Vandals rise. 
Lo, where M^otis sleeps, and hardly flows 
The freezing Tanais through a waste of snows, 
The North by myriads pours her mighty sons- 
Great nurse of Goths, of Alans, and of Huns : 
See Alaric's stern port, the martial frame 
Of Genseric, and Attila's dread name ! 
See ! the bold Ostrogoths on Latium fall ; 
See ! the fierce Visigoths on Spain and Gaul. 
See 1 where the morning gilds the palmy shore 
(The soil that arts and infant letters bore), 
His conq'ring tribes th 1 Arabian prophet draw 
And saving Ignorance enthrones by laws. 
See Christians, Jews, one heavy Sabbath keep, 
And all the Western World believe and sleep. 

362 Mr. Pope 


her sons shall preside in 

W* Theo P hi, us was an 
* Giles Jacob (1686-17^ A w , 

"blunderbuss of law." ffiJb Jl! " ^f^ by P P C as the 
He wrote "The PoetiJ W? , ,^ r llfic writsr and compiler. 
mention of Gay/andSnXa' N Whi T Ch "l mad<5 Sl ^ tin 
tried to retaliate on Pope in a efter to ?oT V ^ I)ict . ionar y'' He 
penny publication entitled 77, L J De " n ' S ' and in a catch ' 
Mary Wortlcy to contribute ' W/ ' Which he invited 

scnters, he es s , 

to all the tenets of the ChriS r ? lm P ossible l "nform 

duced " action i^rto tteDulD t JTi ^'T', ," C daims to have intro " 
ancient eloquence.- iKf d n " ed h " melf " the Res ^er of 
and there poached Z??*" M rt<. 
on Wednesdays on all other sc enc es Hi , tMC SUbjCCtS M<1 
-ere the butchers from the Market Jd'Tn" 5 ' ^ f whom 
him. Henley was also a nartv j g each to hear 

pay of Walpole. P^y-wnter, and believed to be in the 

44 The Dunciad" 363 

the seats of arts and sciences, Tibbald is shown 

how . 

A new world to nature's laws unknown, 1 
Refulgent rises, with a heaven its own. * 

Another Cynthia her new journey runs, 
And other planets circle other suns : 
The forests dance, the rivers upward rise, 
Whales sport in woods, and dolphins in the skies ; 
And last, to give the whole creation grace, 
Lo ! one vast egg produces human race, 3 

Silent the monarch gazed, yet asked in thought 
What god or demon all these wonders wrought ? 
To whom the Sire : " In yonder cloud, behold, 
Whose sarcenet skirts are hedged with flaring gold, 
A godlike youth. See ! Jove's own bolts he flings, 
Rolls the loud thunder and the lightning wings ! 
Angel of Dulness, sent to scatter round 
Her magic charms on all unclassic ground : 
Yon stars, yon suns, he rears at pleasure higher, 
Illumes their lights, and set their flames on fire. 
Immortal Rich ! 3 how calm he sits at ease 
'Mid snows of paper, and fierce hail of pease ; 
And, proud his mistress' orders to perform, 

1 Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm. 1 " * 

Tibbald's reign is to be even greater and more 
triumphant than that of Settle. Like a rolling 
stone, his "giddy dulness still shall lumber on." 
Bavins is ordered to take the poppy from his 
own brow and place it .on that of the hero, 

1 The world of farce and pantomime. 

* In one of the pantomimes the harlequin was hatched out of a 
large egg. 

3 John Rich, the manager of the theatre in Lincoln's Inn 
Fields, and afterwards of Covent Garden. He was a harlequin of 
genius, who made pantomimes the rage. 

4 Borrowed from Addison's poem, " The Campaign." 

3 6 4 Mr. Pope 


the dread 

All shall be darkness, as it ne'er were day 
To their first Chaos wit's vain works shall fall 
And universal D.ulness cover all ! 

No more the monarch could such raptures bear 
He waked, and all the vision mixed with air. 1 ' 

tf S i0 n ! " . th ! S 1) SUmmar y are " a taken from the fa* 
of The Dunciad," published in 1728. 


FriHl " i to ****'> W'l*>*&Vi nt y, M, London an